Recordings Evaluation committee members: Jean Hatfield, chair, Johnson County (KS) Library; Diana Freeman, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX; Sarah McCarville, Grand Rapids (MI) Public Library; Elizabeth Simmons, Kirkwood Highway Library, Wilmington, DE; Kathy Toon, Dallas (TX) Public Library; Kelly Jennings, Tulsa City County (OK) Library; Donna Norvell, State Library of Oklahoma; Marilou Sorensen, University of Utah, Salt Lake, and Lucinda Fran Ware, Baltimore County (MD) Public Library.
Adventures at Catfish Pond. Music for Little People. 40min. $9.98. CD, $15.98. Come on down to the "land of the cottonmouth" and join the critters and folks of Catfish Pond in Catfish Hodge's rollicking, bluesy collection of dynamic songs!
An Awfully Big Adventure, the Best of Peter Pan, 1904-1996. Delos. 52min. $9.98. CD, $14.98. The first collection of songs from movie and Broadway productions about the ageless Peter Pan celebrates the joy and magic of his fanciful escapades. A classical recording for children that really soars.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Bach: More Favorite Disney Tunes in the Style of Great Classical Composers. Delos. 56min. $9.98. CD, $14.98. What better way to introduce classical music to children than through sophisticated reinterpretations of the well-known melodies from Disney films? As they listen to familiar songs, children are exposed to the varied styles of classical composers. This unique blend of popular culture and classical music is professionally done and is accompanied by informative liner notes.
Big Blues. Music for Little People. 46min. $9.98. CD, $15.98. Imagine learning to sing the ABCs with Taj Mahal or singing along to "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Children can "Pick a Bale o' Cotton" with the legendary Sonny Terry, take a "Flying Lesson" with Michelle Shocked, or sing the blues with Rita Coolidge or B. B. King. This melding of the best of America's blues artists with children's music is truly a recording that families can enjoy together.
Blanket Full of Dreams. Rounder Records. 42min. $9.50. CD, $15. Cathy Fink's and Marcy Marxer's wind-down recording combines banjo, guitar, and vocals to create a diverse collection of lullabies. From swing to cowboy music, each cut is unique.
Bridge to Terebithia. Recorded Books. 4hr. 3 cassettes, $26. In this poignant Newbery Medal winning novel, Katherine Paterson beautifully illustrates the pain and joy of growing up. Now the magical world of Jess and Leslie in the land of Terebithia is brought to life by Tom Stechschulte's warm, lightly accented voice.
Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea. Spoken Arts. 8min. Cassette, book, $15.90. Ruby Dee's honeyed voice shapes Joyce Carol Thomas' collection of African American poems that define pride and identity.
Cada Nino/Every Child. Rounder Records. 39min. $9.50. CD, $15. Singer/songwriter Tish Hinojosa presents 11 songs that reflect a rich mixture of Latino and American cultures. Included is the traditional Spanish cradle song "Senora Santa Ana" and original tunes about Hinojosa's childhood memories.
Castle in the Attic. Listening Library. 3hr. 2 cassettes, $16.98. Bruce Coville's Words Take Wing Company teams with author Elizabeth Winthrop in this multivoiced performance of the story of a boy who finds the true meaning of courage when he is drawn into another time through a magical castle, a noble knight, and a lady.
Celebrate! Jack Grunsky Live. Youngheart Music/Creative Teaching Press. 45min. $10.98. CD, $13.98. Life is a celebration for Jack Grunsky. In this family concert with the Chigo Chigo band, he celebrates animals, food, language, toys--everything that makes life fun for kids. Grunsky blends exuberant lyrics and rhythms with lively instrumentation in a partylike atmosphere. Kids will be stomping with the alligators, dancing in the street, and singing hello and good-bye in a variety of languages.
A Child's Celebration of Folk Music. Music for Little People. 45min. $9.98. CD, $15.98. Folk-music lovers will approve of this fine compilation for children performed by some of the best and most famous folk-music artists of yesterday and today, including both the legendary Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.
Daughters of Ishi-Shin: Ancient Tales of the Americas. Black Cricket Press. 63min. $10. CD, $15. Storytellers have been passing along the tales of their culture for centuries. Barb Stevens-Newcomb has collected stories from the native peoples of both North and South America, which she passes along to new generations in a quiet, traditional voice that evokes the power of each tale.
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm. Recorded Books. 10hrs. 7 cassettes, $58. The setting is Zimbabwe, 2194. When General Matsika's three children disappear, his wife contacts the Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, a most unusual detective agency. Narrated here by George Guidall, this novel combines futuristic technology and African folklore in a wild trip of adventure and humor.
The Giant and the Rabbit: Hispanic Culture. High Haven Music. 70min. Cassette, $12.95. Six folktales reflecting the richness and diversity of Hispanic culture are shared bilingually by storyteller Sarah Barchas. With its guide, this versatile recording can be used in the classroom, especially with ESL students.
Halloween Howls. Music for Little People. 42min. $7.99. CD, $11.99. At last! Festive Halloween music for dancing, decorating, or dressing up. Cameo appearances by Linda Ronstadt, Karla Bonoff, Stephen Bishop, and David Cassidy highlight this collection of "soft scare" tunes, ranging from the classic "Monster Mash" to the original "Creature from the Tub."
I Am Livina Cumming. Recorded Books. 5hr. 4 cassettes, $34. In 1905, 10-year-old Livina Cumming is sent from her beloved Arizona ranch to live with her rich aunt in California. Barbara Caruso narrates this first-rate book and leave the listener with the same "wonderful warmth that glowed in Livina's heart."
Ironman. Recorded Books. 6hr. 5 cassettes, $42. This funny, sensitive coming-of-age story, performed by George Guidall and Johnny Heller, takes the listener into the life of Bo Brewster. The brief appearance by Larry King caps the excellent reading to create the perfect choice for the discriminating older listener.
Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog. Youngheart Music/Creative Teaching Press. 60min. $10.98. CD, $13.98. Hoyt Axton's fun collection of Americana ranges from the 1960s classic title song to the perennial camp favorite "On Top of Spaghetti" and ends appropriately with the cowboy ballad "Happy Trails." Kids and parents alike will be singing along with this lighthearted recording.
Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho. Jim Gill Music. 31min. $10. CD, $15. You will jump, sing, and dance as you listen to Jim Gill's recording filled with music play. Fans from Toledo to Boise will make it noisy wherever they live.
Lessons from the Animal People. Yellow Moon Press. 90min. $9.95. CD, $15. Ulali's music underscores Dovie Thomason's gentle, humorous Native American stories about animals whose mistakes, bad choices, and unruly antics remind us of human weaknesses.
A Little Princess. Recorded Books. 8hr. 6 cassettes, $49. Virginia Leishman reads Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic story about 10-year-old Sarah Crewe, who arrives at Miss Minchin's London boarding school dressed in velvet and lace and becomes the center of attention. But when she meets tragedy, Sarah is cast into hard times, working in squalor to survive.
Lullabies and Love Songs. DreamSong Recordings. 40min. $10. CD, $16. Traditional love songs and lullabies in Yiddish, Ladino, and Hebrew are effortlessly and beautifully sung by Tanja Solnik. The perfect way to experience a little time out with loved ones!
Mark Twain and the Laughing River. Woodside Ave. Music Productions. 34min. $10. CD, $15. The second title in a series on American music, Jim Post's recording evokes a period in our history when steamboats traveled the Mississippi and Mark Twain was a barefoot boy on the bank.
Monday's Troll: Poems by Jack Prelutsky. Listening Library. 35min. $9.95. Meet goblins, giants, trolls, and Bigfoot in this playful collection of poems. Jack Prelutsky not only reads his poems but he sings them, too!
Noah and the Ark. Rabbit Ears/Simon & Schuster. 25min. Cassette, book, $19.95. Kelly McGillis' reading of Noah's challenge to save his people by filling his ark with animals is dramatically enhanced by the music of the Paul Winter Consort. The accompanying book is strikingly illustrated.
Old Turtle. Pfeifer-Hamilton. 38min. $11.95. The classic fable of the turtle who brings peace to all the beings of the world is delightfully read by Douglas Wood and is accompanied by nine original songs by the Friends of Old Turtle's Children's Chorus.
Penguin Parade. Music for Little People. 36min. $7.99. CD, $11.99. Splash into the salty sea, then jump out, dry off, and enjoy these rollicking, high-stepping songs of marine life mirth, performed by the Banana Slug Band.
A Planet with One Mind. One Step Records. 59min. $9.98. CD, $14.98. Mike Pinder, voice of the Moody Blues rock group, captivates the listener with stories and music. His deep, melodic voice recounts tales and myths from cultures around the world.
Quiet Time. Pearcy Co. 45min. $9.95. CD, $14.50. Classical guitarist Ricardo Cobo has produced a unique compilation of bedtime music for children and their parents, which is guaranteed to put the kids to sleep! Beautiful, rich selections, some with a Spanish flavor, invite relaxation and soothingly sweet dreams.
The Rifle. Recorded Books. 2hr. 2 cassettes, $18. At a time when weapons are a controversial topic, Gary Paulsen's powerful story provides another view of guns in our society. It traces the journey of an antique rifle from 1768 up to the present day. Norman Dietz's rich, deep voice conveys a sense of respect and place for antique weapons in the world today.
Sleeping with the Fishes. Baby Music Boom. 50min. $10.98. CD, $15.98. Featuring both original and traditional lullabies, these 16 selections by the Music Workshop for Kids are certain to soothe and calm little ones.
Songs for Singing Children. KOCH International. 56min. $9.95. CD, $15.95. Every child should know these classic folk songs, performed here by the famous baritone John Langstaff and a children's choir. This array of 26 selections includes "Frog Went a-Courtin'," "Go Tell Aunt Nancy," and "Ol' Dan Tucker," along with many other favorites. Combining two classic children's albums from the 1960s, this recording brings these songs to the attention of a new generation.
Stellaluna. High Windy Audio. 35min. $9.98. CD, $15.98. David Holt's music and storytelling add to the fun in this enjoyable pairing of bat stories and bat facts. Featured are Janell Canon's Stellaluna , about a lost young bat who finally finds her way home, and Don Freeman's classic Hattie, the Backstage Bat.
Three Terrible Trins. Listening Library. 102min. 2 cassettes, $16.98. Three mouse brothers (aka, the Three Terrible Trins) create constant commotion, eventually ridding the farmhouse of the annoying cats, in June Whitfield's reading of this memorable story by Dick King-Smith.
Tom Chapin: Around the World and Back Again. Baker & Taylor. 40min. $9.98. CD, $13.98. Discover didjeridoos and Borneo in Tom Chapin's energetic tour of the customs and cultures around the world, displayed in music and song.
Under the Blood Red Sun. Recorded Books. 7hr. 5 cassettes, $42. Jeff Woodman's characterizations bring immediacy to this historical fiction about young Tomi Nagaki, a second-generation Japanese American, and his life after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The diverse characters and cultures portrayed in the book are expertly crafted in this fine reading, creating a vivid and compelling experience.
When I Was a Child. Rounder Kids. 40min. $9.98. CD, $13.98. Look Ma, no hands! Anna Moo's music evokes the childhood joys of riding a bike, watching trains, and listening to stories on Grandma's lap. And what adult is not going to understand and sing along to this collection of country-and-western-flavored tunes when Anna Moo "remembers yesterday?"
The Wolf under the Bed. Old Coyote Music. 63min. Cassette, $10. From learning to play the recorder to "fracturing fairy tales," Willy Claflin is a master performer and storyteller. Joined by Maynard Moose, Rocky Raccoon, and Bill Buffalo, Willy Claflin will keep you in stitches.
World's Gonna Listen. JHO Music. 49min. $10. CD, $15. Stir up a "Witch's Brew" of fun, and learn how musical harmony is created with this sing-along, learn-along, laugh-along recording.