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Product Type: Audio
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


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
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
Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner
(Listening Library $20 Score:)

These 2 disk sets were produced in 1997 and feature a marvelous cast of actors. If you are a fan of As Time Goes By, you'll recognize the voices of Judi Dench playing Kanga and Geoffrey Palmer (Lionel) playing Eeyore, among others. Adapted for audio by David Benedictus, who this year wrote the further adventures in the Return to the Hundred Acre Wood (see our audio review), this is a dramatized version of the original stories. For those who want only the authentic Pooh in their midst, this is it. We do think you will also enjoy the new adventures recorded by Jim Dale, mentioned above. You can dole each of these stories out, one chapter at a time as a listening treat before bath or bedtime. A great way to share some quiet moments before they nod off for the night. 

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

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2009 Award
Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
(by David Benedictus/read by Jim Dale, Penguin Audio $19.95 Score:)

After an eighty-year absence, Christopher Robin returns to the Hundred Acre Wood and it does seem like only 80 seconds ago. Happily, Christopher has not grown up so much that he is unable to communicate full well with his old friend Tiger, Pooh, Piglet, Owl, or dear old long suffering Eeyore. Christopher returns with a bright blue bicycle and as his friend Pooh says that he's "a bit more...but not too much...he's still Christopher Robin."  Indeed, the new stories, ten in all, are a bit more...but very much in the tradition of the still not-to-be-missed originals. A new character, Lottie the Otter has been added, an assertive female character to an otherwise all male cast, although until this moment, one had never attributed any gender roles to any of the old friends. Now, we must confess, we have not read the book since we have been lucky enough to return to the Hundred Acre Wood with master storyteller Jim Dale. Not since his dramatic readings of the Harry Potter books have we heard any CDs that match Dale's amazing talents. Each of the beloved characters comes to life with a unique voice and transports the listener off to another place and time where good stories happen. You will need a little patience, you'll need to get past the rather long dedication and introduction and get on to the storytelling. We suggest skipping the pre-story formality and cut right to the stories. The whole family will enjoy this 3-disk set. Each chapter begins and ends with a musical cue that you can use as our own way of doling it out, one chapter at a time, to make it last longer! A honey of a way to end a busy day! 

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

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2009 Award
Snow, Book & DVD
(by Uri Shulevitz/ read by Sean Schemmel, Macmillan Young Listeners $9.99 Score:)

An award-winning book is no less magical in 2009 than it was when it won the Caldecott award years ago. The paperback copy of the book is handsome and enhanced with a CD read in several voices and plenty of charm by Sean Schemmel. Beginning readers will soon be able to read this story since the format of the text repeats itself with small variations and the entire story is told with a simplicity of words that capture the boy's excitement from first snowflake to enchanted white winter wonderland. Children as young as 3 will enjoy this, but we especially think 6's and 7's who are just learning to read will like this, too.

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

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