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Product Type: Audio

 


2011 Award
Rabbit Cooks Up a Cunning Plan
(Told by Andrew F. Peters/ illus. Bruno Robert, Childs Play $7.99 Score:)

All the animals are afraid of the big old hungry Mountain Lion. When he threatens to eat them all, they promise to take turns cooking him special dinners, so that he will have no need to eat them up.  Each of them do this until Rabbit forgets to cook anything. But then, the clever little one cooks up a plan that frees everyone from the dreaded lion. He tells lion that he was attacked by another lion that is bigger and more ferocious. When lion insists on seeing the other lion for himself, rabbit leads him to a deep well where he plunges in after the lion he hears and sees. This North American folktale is one of a series of paperback books, each packaged with a CD. There is no music or over the top narration. The telling is pretty straightforward, with bell signals to turn the pages. Also in the series, Bear and Turtle and the Great Lake Race, Dingo Dog and the Billabong Storm, The Ant and the Big Bad Bully Goat.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Sing to Your Baby, Book and CD
(by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Community Music $19.95 Score:)

If you know a family with a new baby or one on the way, give them this book and CD! Designed to inspire moms and dads to sing, dance and play with their baby, the colorful hard covered book is illustrated by James Nocito with verve and a happy blend of playfulness to match the songs. As always, Cathy and Marcy have created music that has a variety of styles and rhythms to make the sound interesting and they've kept the lyrics easy enough for parents who are musical or not. These songs have a Pete Seeger kind of sound to them that make you want to tap your foot, dance around and sing along. Although the cover says there are 22 songs, in fact, there are eleven original songs, each one is sung by a female and then a male voice with banjo and other stringed accompaniment. This is pure Cathy-and-Marcy-wonderful!

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Little Man, Book and CD
(by David Freeman Wooley/ illus. by Fred Willingham, Charlesbridge $19.99 Score:)

This is the story of a kid who all the neighbors call "Little Man" and drums are his thing. Diane Warwick narrates this story of a boy who not only wants to play the drums well, he knows he needs lessons and is working hard to earn enough money to buy a bike so he can get those lessons across town. It's a pretty didactic book about having a passion, having a purpose and working toward perfection. That said, it's a satisfying story and  is followed with a drum demonstration by the author, who was a lot like Little Man when he was a boy. The art captures a very real looking cast of characters and a warm and caring neighborhood. If only the real world could give that kind of support to all our young people! 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Award
Jumanji 30th Anniversary Edition Book & CD
(by Chris Van Allsburg, narrated by Robin Williams, Houghton Mifflin $18.99 Score:)

It's hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the story of Jumanji originally appeared. Chis Van Allsburg's Caldecott Award winning fantasy with its black and white drawings and remarkable tale invites young readers on a strange and mysterious adventure, when Peter and his sister Judy discover a board game that comes to life. This is not a CD version of the movie Jamanji, which also stars Robin Williams. It is completely faithful to the words on the printed page, but as you can imagine, Williams brings many voices and his own pace in his telling. With the original hard cover edition and the CD this makes a splendid gift.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Award
Little Women
(by Louisa May Alcott, narrated by Kate Reading, Listening Library $25 Score:)

This unabridged version of the beloved Little Women has 15 discs and runs for 18 hours. That said, Kate Reading makes every character come alive with distinctive voice, so this is an engaging classic. Choose this for an after dinner treat of listening pleasure or for drives to and from wherever. IT's a great way to make a memorable trip or summer nights all the more memorable with a shared story you can look forward to for a week or more. While you are at it, rent the film and compare the written version to the film. Or even better--go to Netflix and do a Little Women marathon to compare the 1994 film with the earlier 1949 and 1933 versions. Doing a bit of multi-media Comparative Lit.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Doctor De Soto Book & CD
(WIlliam Steig, Macmillan Audio $9.99 Score:)

What better than the deliciously narrated telling of one of our favorite William Steig picture books. A classic story of the little guy triumphing over the big guy, in this case, Dr. De Soto, a small mouse outwits a sly fox who comes in howling with a toothache. Clever little Dr. De Soto makes up in brains what he lacks in girth. A keeper! They say 3-8. We'd say it's a little subtle for preschool--more like 5 & up.

Age: . Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Ferdinand the Bull and Friends
(North Pacific Music $16.99 Score:)

There are several stories and music on this unusual CD that will inspire the imagination as well as providing an invitation to get up and move to the music. The title story, Ferdinand the Bull is narrated by David Ogden Stiers and accompanied by original music by Mark Fish, played with great verve by cellist Nina Flyer and pianist Chie Nagatani. Itís easy to forget that so much music can come from just two musicians. They are a dynamic duo! Stiersí narration sometimes feels a little muted in the narration, but that will simply call for closer listening. You might want to bring home the classic picture book by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. The story of the gentle bull has filled the hearts of generations of children who relate to Ferdinand and his struggle to be himself. Even without the wonderful illustrations the music and words make pictures of another kind, seen in the mindís eye. Our personal favorite on this CD is the humorous collection of rhymes by Ogden Nash about the many creatures in Saint-Saensí Carnival of the Animals. The music just calls kids to become the lion, elephant, Tortoise and all the others as they galump, swim, pounce and more to the marvelous score. These two pieces would have been enough, but they are followed by Ravelís Mother Goose Suite with short excerpts of several stories. To finish off the CD, they added a dollop of Bach with Sheep May Safely Graze. This is a keeper. 6 & up.

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

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2010 Award
Matt Christopher, the Kid Who Only Hit Homers
(Matt Christopher, Listening Library $22 Score:)

Reluctant readers can often be turned into fans when the subject of a book is sports. Matt Christopher is the master of more than 100 sports books and this audio book, just might spark your child's interest in hunting down a few more books by Christopher. This story is told with a full cast of actors who bring the story to life. You might also bring home a paperback copy of the book ($4.95)so that your child can follow alongthe reading.  Or how about another Matt Christopher book to dive into when the listening is done. In this story George goes from being a terrible hitter to being a slugger who hits one homer after another. 2 disks, 1 hr. 40 minutes. Save it for a long road trip or play it in bits and pieces the way old time radio used to leave listeners hanging from one episode to the next. If you have the book around, who knows, your reluctant reader might have to pick it up and find out what happens next by looking at the printed page.

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

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2010 Award
Ranky Tanky
(Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Mayhem Music $16.95 Score:)

There's a joyful mix of music here. You'll be tappin' you feet and laughing out loud. There's Dixieland, folk tunes, old pop music (like Bushel and a Peck, Purple People Eater, and Where Did You Get That Hat?) and some brand new originals. It's all played with an upbeat that makes you want to smile. You'll hear fiddles, ukes, banjos, harmonium, kazooz, trumpets, tuba, trombone, clarinet and oh yes, a balloon and veggie baster. Really. This is one for the whole family.

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

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2010 Award
Elizabeth Mitchell: Sunny Day
(Elizabeth Mitchell, Smithsonian Folkways $12 Score:)

From start to finish this collection of music has quality, variety and good taste. Unlike so many CD's for kids, there are no cutsie lyrics that only half rhyme or music that sounds like a soundtrack for an elevator. This really is music that will make your day a little sunnier,  even if the clouds have gathered. The music is made with a great variety of instruments from harmonicas, guitar, drums, banjo, clarinet, recorders, violins, auto harp, glockenspiel, mandolin, and wonderful voices that you'll want to sing along with as you come to know these pleasing selections. All ages.

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

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