Are your students fans of Junie B. Jones? Do kids ask you daily where to find her books? If so, then this is the musical for you. Adapted, with input from author Barbara Park, from four of the Junie B. books, these adorable, rollicking songs grab your attention from the first note to the last. Whether spunky Junie B. is singing about her “Top Secret Personal Beeswax” journal or the news that she needs glasses, this top notch production will have listeners grinning from ear to ear. Throughout the musical, Junie B. makes a new friend, gets excited about playing in a kickball tournament and is over the moon because of a new lunch box. Herb and Sheldon are each highlighted in a number, but it is the showstopper, “Gladys Gutzman, Queen of Snacks” that really brings the house down. A fantastic cast backed by an excellent orchestra make this a hit. Coming in at only 30 minutes the entire cast album could easily be used in a classroom as part of a lesson or in a library setting where one or two songs are incorporated into a program. This is a real delight that teachers, librarians, parents and most of all – kids will love!
Musician, author and advocate for musical play, Jim Gill returns with his latest album, Vote for Jim Gill. Each of the 14 songs are filled with clever lyrics and amazing musicians. The title tune, “Vote for Jim Gill” is an interesting song that shows how so many parts of the body also sound like campaign promises. While that is a very timely tune, some of the songs have a more classical theme to them like “Conducting Can Be Fun” (I have to admit that I may have conducted this song a couple of times in my living room) and “My Accordion is on the Run” in which a rogue accordion ends up playing snippets from Liszt, Debussy and Ives while teaching children all about the instrument.
What truly makes this album a home run for librarians and teachers though are the songs that encourage interactive music play. Songs like “Bouncing, Hopping and Jumping,” “Hammer and Saw,” “The Countdown” (who knew counting down from 10 could be so fun?), “Play Guitar” and “One From the Left (A Finger Play).” Every one of these songs will get children listening and reacting to the words in the songs and each is perfect for storytime, music classes or just times when you need to get some of the wiggles out. This is definitely another must have from Jim Gill! For more videos like the one below and purchasing information, visit www.jimgill.com.
Forget about Adele and Beyonce and the acts that performed during the prime time GRAMMY’s show. I want to talk about children’s music and the GRAMMYs. This past weekend I had the great privilege of attending the Children’s GRAMMY Award Nominees Benefit Concert in Los Angeles. All five of the performers/groups nominated in the Best Children’s Album category performed during a family concert to benefit the Symphony Jazz Orchestra’s music in the schools program. And what a concert it was!
The show opened with Frances England performing songs from her album, Explorer of the World. Normally, I wouldn’t note what someone was wearing but since you can’t tell from the picture, I want to mention that Frances had on the most adorable dress that looked like maps of the world. Perfect. During her set, Frances brought onstage Carlos Aguirre to join her for “Ballad for a Beatboxer.”
Following Frances England were three time GRAMMY nominees (and one time GRAMMY winner in 2013), the Okee Dokee Brothers. Their set of Americana songs from the album Saddle Up included “Jackalope” and “Somos Amigos” which included special guest and recent Latin GRAMMY winner for best children’s album, 123 Andres.
Things got even livelier when Recess Monkey took the stage. And yes, that is a pink suit that Jack is wearing. 🙂 They played songs from their album Novelties. Four days later and I still find myself singing, “Time to Make the Donuts.”
Then, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo took the stage. The room turned electric as all the kids were encouraged to get up and dance their hearts out to the unique hip hop sounds. The high octane performance contained songs from the album (which would win the GRAMMY the next day), Infinity Plus One.
The final act of the concert, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could, took the stage and kept the energy going with songs from their latest album to be nominated for a GRAMMY, Press Play. The concert ended with a finale featuring all of the performers gathering on stage for one final song.
What a concert! Can’t wait to see who will be taking the stage next year!!
Are you looking for just the right songs to share in your classroom, during storytime or as a family on Valentine’s Day? From today through Tuesday, February 14 the wonderful variety of songs listed below are available as free downloads. There’s a little something for everyone. Pass along the love and kindness!
“Valentine (I Don’t Want to Be Yours)” – Justin Roberts
“Lovestruck Unicorn” – Recess Monkey (2017 GRAMMY nominee)
“L.O.V.E.” – Little Miss Ann
“Love Bug” – Raffi
“Closer to You” – Frances England (2017 GRAMMY nominee)
“You Can Count on Me” – Lisa Loeb
“Your Love Turns the World Around” – Brady Rymer (2017 GRAMMY nominee)
“Loving and Kind” – Aaron Nigel Smith
“Til There Was You” – Lucky Diaz
“Cancion de Amor” – 123 Andrs
Anyone who thinks rap isn’t for young kids hasn’t heard Koo Koo Kanga Roo’s “Bubble Wrap Rap.” Bubble wrap already has kid (and ok, adult) appeal as proven each year when we put a box with small pieces of bubble wrap in it on the desk at work. No one can resist the perceived forbidden activity of popping the wrap in the library. With a hook that repeats, “Oh snap, it’s a bubble wrap rap,” this song perfectly captures the allure of that mysterious material. And with completely clean lyrics, this song is the perfect way to introduce older kids to the art and poetry of rap.