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Product Type: Audio
Age: Preschoolers

 


2010 Award
Earthworm Ensemble
(Western Seed Records $14.95 Score:)

Just in time for Earth Day, this CD has an entirely fresh sound that ranges from wistful to witty and all together pleasing. The album combines a rich potpourri of styles played on mandolin, rocking guitars, fiddles, steel guitar, accordion, sax, bass and drum grooves along with outstanding vocal harmonies. Musicians from the well-known band, I See Hawk in L.A. along with talented vocalists such as two Chapin sisters (Tom's daughters). bluegrass singer, Christina Ortega and country rapper Zachariah, among others. You will love the sound effects on the Traveling Train, the deep down humor of That's What the Earthworms Are For and Bang a Drum is sure to make a hit in all senses of the words. This is one for the whole family.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Pumpkin Soup Book & Audio
( Helen Cooper and read by Kathleen McInerney, Macmillan Audio $9.99 Score:)

Cat, Squirrel and Duck live happily in a little white house where they share music, food and friendship--that is, until Duck decides to try to make Pumpkin Soup. Kathleen McInerney's narration is colorful, the music is lively and both add just the right touch to a little story of friends who fall out and then find a way to make it up. For this time of year, it's so nice to have a pumpkin story without witches and goblins. After you listen to this together, your child can follow the signals for turning the pages and listen alone. After that you just might want to try making some pumpkin soup…even if it does get a little messy. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Audio
(by Bill Martin/ Eric Carle and read by Gwyneth Pa, Macmillan Audio $9.99 Score:)

Read this to your toddler or sit back and listen as Gwyneth Paltrow does the many voices of the creatures in this classic. Toddlers love the bold illustrations and the predictable repetitive refrain. Before long they can say the book with whomever is reading it. On this CD there is also a read along mode with signals for turning the pages. More unusual, there is a Spanish Language version read by Adriana Sananes and an archival version read by the author himself.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Banjo to Beatbox, Cathy & Marcy
(Community Music $7.99 Score:)

From the opening rendition of Jubilation to the final beat of New River Train as it chugs down the track, this is a foot tappin' treat for the whole family. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Grammy Award winners are in top form and add to the fun with guest hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon. The disk includes not only eight musical numbers on the CD plus three bonus videos that you can view on your computer. Our testers especially liked the Syncopated Washboard Rhythm Song as well as an entertaining version of Hip Hop Humpty Dumpty, that sounds like it might be cute, but turns out to be good fun. Indeed, it's a gem with banjo strumming bluegrass meets hip-hop. A marvelous blend that we'd call a real keeper! You can download the songs on iTunes, Amazon, or at their website, www.cathymarcy.com.

This 2009 Platinum winner was just nominated for the 52nd annual Grammy award for  Best Musical Album for Children.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Go, Waggaloo: Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family
(Sarah Lee Guthrie, et al, Folkways $11.95 Score:)

Another generation heard from!  Sarah Lee, the daughter of Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of Woody, carries on the family tradition with this lively CD that blends old and new songs. Among our favorites on this 13-track disk are the amusing Oh How He Lied, 'Cuz We’re Cousins, and the traditional She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain. Sarah Lee has a distinctive sound of her own and has composed music to some lyrics her grandfather never put to music, along with a number of all new songs. Guthrie is joined on the CD by her husband, Johnny Irion, their two daughters and none other than Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and his grandson, Tao Rodriguez Seeger singing along on a few of the songs. The variety of songs and voices are refreshing and all in all this is a winning choice for the whole family.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker!
(by Leslie McGuirk, Candlewick $14.99 Score:)

Tucker, a zippy little dog is all excited about Christmas coming. When he snarfs up a holiday cookie from a hot pan his nose turns bright red! But, not to worry. On Christmas eve he gets to take a special trip with a jolly old fellow and that red nose comes in handy!  Here's a perfect package to take along on a holiday trip or to enjoy at home. It's another charming package in the Candlewick Storybook Animations collection. There's a small book, stickers, a small poster and best of all a two-sided disk that plays a DVD animated version of the story on one side and the audio on the other side. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
The Spirit of Christmas Audio
(by Nancy Tillman, read by Jim Dale, Macmillan Young Listeners $14.95 Score:)

Jim Dale brings his charm to this celebration of Christmas. He narrates the lyrical verse that can be listened to or if you have the book enjoy its beautiful illustrations as you follow along on the second track.  Dale also does a reading of A Visit From St. Nicholas, better known as 'Twas the night before Chistmas. You can use his reading with any picture book of this classic. The rest of the disk is filled with carols sung by the St. Paul's Children's Choir. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Arthur's Audio Favorites
(written and read by Marc Brown, Hachette $19.98 Score:)

We've written about many of these stories about the loveable Arthur and his all so real child adventures... at a First Sleepover, with a New Puppy, having a Birthday or losing a tooth. There are six different stories on this single disk. Kids can read along (if you borrow or buy the books) or they can relax and just listen.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Somersault Season
(Laura Freeman Music $15 Score:)

Laura Freeman steers clear of the usual cutsie or gross out humor ditties that are often served up as entertainment for kids. This is real music and a vocal talent that you will enjoy listening to. There's a good variety of rhythms and styles, from blue grass to marches. It's original music that doesn't condescend and Freeman's vocals are accompanied by guitar, uke, mandolin, electric guitar, drums, and bass…not to mention occasional troll, fairies, Frankenstein and frog voices. Many of the songs like Can You Shake It? are an invitation to get up and dance while others are just good listening fun. www.laurafreemanmusic.com

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Beautiful Baby, Wonderful Child
(by David Kisor, Growing Sound $15.95 Score:)

There are some lullaby and quiet time songs along with interactive dance-about tunes. Together they make for a lively listening and doing experience that fit into the day of infants and toddlers. The CD opens with the title song, Beautiful Baby, Wonderful Child, sung with Kisor's original words put to Bach's Prelude in C and moves on to several other songs that one might call love songs from parent to child. Among the loveliest is a lullaby, A Blessing, played and sung to the haunting music of a Native American flute. About half the CD is dedicated to action songs that will get toddlers up on their tippy toes and turning round and round. Also charming is a little tune called I Keep Kiss in My Pocket, that just might make separations a little easier. At the end of the CD there is a reprise of three totally instrumental renditions of three of the quiet tunes introduced earlier. These three will be perfect for a bit of naptime music. http://shop.childreninc.org/beautiful-baby-wonderful-child.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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