By Marilyn McPhie
Gold Award Winners
Jaws, Paws & Claws: Animal Wisdom Tales, by LuAnn Adams, 2003; $15 CD; www.luannadamsstoryteller.com. Storyteller LuAnn Adams presents a collection of multicultural and value-laden tales, but no need to worry: the "good-for-you" stuff comes with funny voices, surprising twists and a style that will have you and your kids laughing as well as thinking. Adams' bears, crocodiles, frogs and chipmunks are just like your friends and family (who could probably learn a thing or two from these stories).
Knick Knack Paddy Whack 2, by Diane Ferlatte, 2003; $15 CD; www.dianeferlatte.com. Storyteller/singer Diane Ferlatte and musician Erik Pearson deliver another rollicking bunch of stories, songs and rhymes with enough familiarity to be comfortable and enough originality to keep up the enthusiasm. The preschool set will join in on "This Little Piggy" and older children and grown-ups will respond to Diane's sassy good-humor, witty variations and stories with punch. Banjo and guitar music add to the fun.
Stories in Music: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, story and pictures by Virginia Lee Burton, music by London Philharmonic Orchestra, Stephen Simon, conductor and composer; Magic Maestro Music, 2004; $17.99 CD; www.magicmaeastromusic.com. In the rich tradition of Peter and the Wolf, this blend of a well-loved children's story with great music will appeal to both sides of the brain and all parts of the heart. The warm and friendly style will appeal to a broad audience - from a truck-loving toddler to a classical music-loving grandma.
The Town Around the Bend, by Bill Harley, Round River Records, 2003; $15 CD; www.billharley.com. This collection of bedtime songs and stories is definitely not your mother's "Rock-a-Bye Baby." Harley delivers stories that are gently soothing, and simultaneously, fresh, original and more than a little "around the bend." If a child in your life will love the idea of gazing at a "strawberry-peach sky" with a friend named Twizzlesticks, this is the recording for you. Terrific stories are bookended with snazzy bedtime songs. You'll find the rich words and colorful images rolling around in your head long after the CD has ended.
Honors Award Winners
Cooler Water Cora, by Karen Rae Kraut, Lettuce Leaf Productions, 2003; $15; 951-685-2027; www.cdbaby.com/krkraut/ ; for ages 3 and up. This is a one-woman variety show of stories, songs, riddles and poetry. The familiar and the new are both delivered with infectious enthusiasm.
Common Sense ... and Uncommon Fun!, by Linda Gorham, 2003; $15; www.lindagorham.com; for ages 4 and up. Think of this recording as "values with attitude." Folktales told with energy and style. Prepare to play-along with the telling.
Goldilocks and Company, by Alan Irvine, 2003; $15; www.alanirvine.com, 412-521-6406; for ages 3 to 8. If your kids' favorite uncle came over to tell them bedtime stories, they might be a lot like these. Irvine tells the need-to-know tales (three bears, pigs, goats, plus a few more) in a simple, straightforward style (with a few zingers thrown in to make sure Mom and Dad are paying attention).
To see winning software titles for other age groups, return to NAPPA 2004 Award Winners: Spoken Word and Storytelling.