Mariposa (Latin American Lullabies and Songs for Tranquility for the Whole Family), Juanita
Newland-Ulloa, Ulloa Productions, 2000; $17 CD; www.juanitamusic.com, 510-632-6296; ages newborn to 4.
Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish, and this bilingual album indeed floats like a butterfly and sings like a gentle breeze. Juanita
Newland-Ulloa has produced yet another potent sleepy-time elixir of traditional Latin American lullabies and original songs that will ease your little one to sleep.
In My Arms, Crystal Gayle, Madacy Kids, 2000; $12.98 CD, $9.98 cassette; 416-756-2800; ages newborn to 4.
Crystal Gayleís voice is a delight -- church bells come to mind. Nicely produced songs by Steve Ivey and Denny Jiosa are a soothing mixture of positive and uplifting vocals and instrumentals.
Newborn, Sara Hickman, Sleeveless, 1999; $15 CD; www.bigkidvideo.com, 512-443-2147; ages newborn to 2.
"My wish was to create an album for parents who have trepidations about singing to their newborns," says Sara Hickman. And, with her wonderfully accessible voice, she has created just such a gift for new parents. Maybe this recording will encourage you to sing out loud, too?
Infant & Toddler
Can Cockatoos Count By Twos? Songs for Learning Through Music and Movement, Hap Palmer, Educational Activities Inc., 2001; $14.95 CD, $11.95 cassette;
www.edact.com, 800-645-3739; ages 5 to 8.
Do experience and dedication count? You betcha! Hap Palmerís the guy for educational musical activities. Hap could sing the phone book and youíd learn something. Numbers, colors, arithmetic, time, phonics, months and seasons are all treated in Hapís inimitable style.
Toddlers Sing Storytime, Music for Little People, 2000; $11.98 CD, $7.98 cassette; www.mflp.com, 800-346-4445; ages 2 to 6.
Kids love to hear kids sing -- and parents will be putty in this recordingís hands, too! Traditional nursery rhymes and
sing-alongs are given the toddler touch in this cleverly conceived recording of cute voices and fun arrangements.
Folksongs and Bluegrass for Children: A Phil Rosenthal Collection, Rounder Records, 2000; $15.98 CD, $10.98 cassette; www.rounder.com, 800-ROUNDER; ages 3 to 7.
Phil Rosenthalís voice is just as valuable an instrument to these songs as is the banjo. Along with 16 greatest hits from other albums, "Mama Donít Allow" is a previously unreleased
toe-tapper. This recording features stringed instruments played by terrific musicians who are obviously having a ball.
Yellow Bus, Justin Roberts, Hear Diagonally Records, 2001; $14.99 CD;
www.heardiagonally.com, 877-345-4992; ages 2 to 9.
This refreshing recording delivers a busload of infectious, rollicking and insightful tunes. Reminiscent of James Taylor and Cat Stevens, Robertsí organic, acoustic guitar-driven arrangements revamp familiar kid-friendly songs.
Brown Girl in The Ring: A World Music Collection, Music for Little People, 2001; $15.98 CD, $9.98 cassette; www.mflp.com, 800-346-4445; ages 5 to 12.
Get on board and take a musical trip around the world with this irresistible collection of upbeat, danceable tunes from the Music for Little People catalog of classics. Songs performed by Los Lobos, Taj
Mahal, Buckwheat Zydeco, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Maria Mudaur, among others, are presented in a collage of cultural styles.
Totally Zany, My Zany Music, 2001; $9.99 CD; www.zanybrainy.com, 610-278-7800; ages 3 to 9.
This collection of silly tunes is truly infectious. Parents, if you want a sampler of just some of the dedicated musicians who perform primarily for children, check this recording out. And, if you find yourself "borrowing" it for the ride to work, donít blame us!
InFINity, Trout Fishing in America, Trout Records, 2001; $14.98 CD;
www.troutmusic.com, 501-761-3630; ages 5 to 12.
There are only a few childrenís artists who can compel an adult to pop in the groupís CD of his or her own free will -- Trout Fishing is one of those. With this recording, the musicians have created a parentís guilty pleasure. Thereís a lot of ear candy to go around: catchy arrangements, clever lyrics and not a whiff of condescension to be found.
Big Wide Grin, Kebí Moí, Sony Wonder, 2001; $16.98 CD, $9.98 cassette; www.sonywonder.com, 800-221-8180; ages 5 to 12.
A joyous album by a consummate performer. Each song is a custom-cut jewel in a crown that fits everyone. Exquisite production, original songs, as well as classics by Bill Withers, Sly Stewart, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder set the table for a more-than-satisfying banquet.
Step to It, Norman Foote, Shoebox Music, 2000; $13.99 CD; www.normanfoote.com, 604-985-7873; ages 5 to 12.
If you still havenít entered the land of Foote after five albums, hereís your chance. Life lessons are cleverly wrapped in great arrangements, snappy lyrics and warm vocals. Parents will appreciate the artistry in this fine collection of nicely crafted tunes.
John Wood is the music reviewer for United Parenting Publications. You can read his reviews at www.Kidzmusic.net.