Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Non-annoying children's music: Part 1

Let's be honest. A lot of kids' music is so annoying it makes me want to pull my hair out. Or scratch out my own eyes. Or curl up in a fetal position and moan loudly.

Since all these reactions are inappropriate for the setting in which we are usually listening to music (the car), I prefer to find good kids' music--stuff that I can enjoy and even sing along with. I'll share some of what we like, today and tomorrow. (Share your own favorites in the comments!)

Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton is the author of scads of adorable children's board books with titles as beguiling as The Belly Button Book and Your Personal Penguin. (In fact, you can get a free download of Davy Jones singing Your Personal Penguin here--scroll down a bit on the page.) Boynton also has a few full-length albums that are sold as book/CD packages. We have two and love them both.


Philadelphia Chickens is an "imaginary musical revue" with songs by Sandra Boynton & Michael Ford. Kids can read along in the book while they listen to some fantastic stars singing Broadway-style songs. It's so much fun hearing Meryl Streep belting "Nobody Understands Me" and Kevin Kline singing, "BusyBusyBusy." And these days it is extra-sentimental when I listen to Natasha Richardson sing "Silly Lullaby," the song I got the nickname "Zoodle" from.

Here's an exampe of some of the adorable, funny lyrics from the song "Belly Button (Round)" on Philadelphia Chickens:

"Belly Belly Button,
you're oh so fine.
OOO, Belly Button,
I'm so happy you're mine
A tummy without you
just wouldn't be right,
Little Belly Button,
you're a beautiful sight."

You can listen to clips from all the songs on Philadelphia Chickens here.


Dog Train is Boynton & Ford's rock album, and The Engineer and I particularly like this one. The Spin Doctors start the album with the cathartic song "Tantrum." The title track, "Dog Train," is performed by Blues Traveler. Kate Winslet and "Weird Al" Yankovic are hilarious singing "I Need a Nap," and Steve Lawrence and Eydi Gorme are even funnier crooning "Boring Song."

Here are some of the lyrics from the song "Wave Bye-Bye" (a song about a little girl who just wants her parents to leave the boring party they're all at) on Dog Train:

"Come on and say bye-bye.
I want to go bye-bye.
It's time to wave bye-bye.
Wave bye-bye....

"I want them not to see me,
'cause whenever they do,
they've always got to ask me,
'And how old are you?'
Well, I was four when we got here.
It's a while since then.
I'm thinking that by now I must be...nine or ten."

You can listen to clips from all the songs on Dog Train here.

If you're torturing yourself listening to annoying kids' music, don't let yourself suffer another day! Check out Sandra Boynton, and let me know what you think. Come back tomorrow, and I'll tell you about one more group we like. I'm looking forward to reading your ideas in the comments!


Anonymous said...

Beth -- Thanks for this info! I have a great-grandson who will turn 2 next month and I think I've just found what I'm going to give him!! :)

Lyndsay said...

Those are great - we have both of them and they've become one of my go-to shower/birthday gifts!

Kara said...

Maybe I will break down and try these - I've had a total ban on children's music so far, but these sound like fun! Right now, I make my kids listen to showtunes and the Broadway channel on XM :-) (it's my secret plot to turn them into musical theater geeks...)

Shannon said...

My husband and I use kids music to get back at each other... like if he does something to annoy me, I get back by singing the Map song from Dora. His get back at me song is the theme from Sid the Science Kid. Those two songs get stuck in our head the rest of the night and we can't help but laugh :o)

I love Sandra Boynton books... we'll definitely have to check out the CDs. Have you ever heard of Madelline's Toy Box? I think they might be local to my area but I have their CD and I love it! I could burn you a copy if you'd like.

Eternal Lizdom said...

We have these books and CD's but my kids have never really taken to them. I got them for $5 each at Kohl's a few years ago.

Currently in the car we have Veggie Tales, Imagination Movers, Raffi. Imagination Movers are really fun and the sound is kinda ska-esque. We also like The Land of Nod compilation CD's with Justin Roberts, Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner and much more.

I'm not opposed to kid music, though. I think it is fun and appealing. I like goofing off and being silly and I love when my kids start singing the songs from these CD's on their own!

Lara said...

LOL, my little brother had an unnatural obsession with the Teletubbies when he was little. It was a dark day when they released an album - it was literally played non-stop the entire year.

When I was a kid, we had a great compilation called "Hello Children Everywhere". My dad particularly enjoyed it, because many of the songs were from when HE was little. I have actually bought the compilation to play for my kids (if and when the time comes), and I highly recommend it to everyone... if you can get hold of it!

Call Me Cate said...

Oooh, how fun! I bet the nephew would enjoy them. Thanks for the recommendation.

Andria said...

Those are great,thanks for this info.

Erin said...

LOL...I'm a little afraid to hear what the real Belly Button song sounds like. I'm sure it's NOTHING like what I sing when we read that book. :? Daniel might think I'm a loon.

TesoriTrovati said...

My kids have outgrown this phase and are now into their MP3 players...but the best kids music that I would still listen to without them is Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner. In fact, I should dig that out and add it to my MP3! A local WI artist named Tom Pease is the funniest and has many CDs out...check out his website at http://www.tompease.com/ I still find him fun to watch at concerts in the park or at venues all around the state. Thanks for the memories Beth! Enjoy the day! Erin

Our Scoop said...

We have those too! I also enjoy them :) We also like the Praise Baby CDs...

nopinkhere said...

Right now we have Blue Moo out of the library again because K kept asking for the "Banana Song."

I also can deal with Laurie Berkner (although she sounds the same after awhile) and Ella Jenkins I can tolerate.

I LIKE They Might Be Giants. My favorite is their No! CD. It's amusing to have my son going around singing "C is for Conifers."

caryn said...

Thanks I'm going to have to check these out. One of our favorites is "Rocket Ship Run" by The Laurie Berkner Band.

Jan Holt said...

I love Boynton's kids music too. Very occasionally I will put one on in my yoga classes and the students always get a big smile on their faces. I know that they are then ready to move on to relaxing into a deeper pose.

Thanks for sharing some great titles I didn't know of.

Bri said...

I must confess I am one of those crazies that doesn't get annoyed by any children's programming or music. I love it all! ;) These sound great though and I would love to mix it up. Might have to check them out :)

caryn said...

Sorry two comment in one day. Sice reading your post earlier today I have not been able to get some of these songs out of my head! I must get the CD's so Ellie know what they should sound like since I can't carry a tune!

Janell said...

I love Sandra Boynton! Never heard the music though, so I'm definitely going to check it out. Some of the Sesame Street CDs are fun - Mia loves the one called Fiesta Songs. We listen to a lot of everything. Sometimes we have "family dance time" before the kids go to bed, in which everyone gets to pick one song to be played from the iPod (hooked into speakers in the living room) and we all dance. The kids went through a big Abba phase and every night we had to dance to "Super Trooper." Yeah, we're nerds.

C. Beth said...

Sandra--I hope he likes it as much as I do!

Lyndsay--Yay, another fan!

Kara--Showtunes are a GREAT option. :)

Shannon--Ha! Love that you use kids music as a weapon. No, I haven't heard of Madelline's Toy Box!

Eternal Lizdom--You know, at first, I didn't like Philadelphia Chickens (the first one we got) and then it grew on me. :) Those are some great suggestions!

Lara--Aaargh, a Teletubbies album? Awful! Thanks for the "Hello Children Everywhere" recommendation!

Cate--If Collin listens you'll have to let me know if he likes it!

Andria--No problem!

Erin--I bet you're right about the belly button song--it's definitely not what I would have imagined!

Erin--Wow, Kenny Loggins did a Pooh CD? I should check into Tom Pease. Thanks!

Our Scoop--I've heard good things about Praise Baby, if it's what I'm thinking of!

nopinkhere--We don't have Blue Moo. Do you like it? I definitely need to get They Might Be Giants. I've heard a little and liked it a lot.

caryn--It seems a lot of peole like Laurie Berkner! Regarding your 2nd comment--yay! I hope you'll get them! :)

PetalsYoga--That's so cute that you use it for your yoga classes!

Bri--That is great that you don't mind kids' music!

Janell--I love the dance time idea!!

beckiwithani said...

I'm so proud to have introduced you to Sandra Boynton. :)

Silly Bus said...

What a nice blog you have..thanks for all this information.