Music Review: Singing Jet Planes and Whistling Pigs

Yes, you can come back and make a multi-award winning CD even better. And Hap Palmer’s new, revised and expanded version of Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet? irrefutably proves the point – and, incidentally, yes, a jumbo jet can sing the alphabet – I saw it with my own ears!

Palmer’s long list of credentials and dedication to quality children’s music and education are impeccable. His songs are carefully crafted, finely performed and creatively produced in a multitude of accessible musical styles, but never at the expense of the specific message or lesson. For example, he uses the traditional seventh-inning stretch tune “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” to explain simple math problems by utilizing the scores of competing teams. He revisits the song later in the CD to explain more advanced math techniques for older children.

Understanding blends and recognizing initial consonant sounds is framed in the classical Spanish arrangement of “Letters in the Blender”: Take an S, and an L, put them in the blender/And Slim’s slender sled slips and slides down slippery slopes. Palmer always supplies ample teaching aids and support material for his interactive musical adventures, so hitch a ride and you’ll be hooked.

Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet? (New, Revised, Expanded Version) – Songs for Learning Through Music and Movement, Hap Palmer, Hap-Pal Music, 2005; $15.95 CD;

I guess if a jumbo jet can sing the alphabet, a pig can surely whistle. On The Whistling Pig Presents Songs From the Heart,

Chicago-based musician and illustrator Doug and Bobbie Stuart respectively create colorful animal characters that make for down-home, folksy, family fun. The upbeat, well-performed tunes espouse positive values, yet never talk down to the young audience. The Whistling Pig is a fun-filled fable based on “Tales From the Gullywhumpus,” which the Stuarts created years ago. You go pig!

The Whistling Pig Presents Songs From the Heart, Doug & Bobbie Stuart, Dugan’s Tunes, 2003; $15 CD;

– John Wood

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