Best Children’s Products: Music

Nov 4, 2013 | Blog, Cozi Recommends

Here are the winning children’s music products from the 2013 National Parenting Publications Awards.

GOLD WINNERS


The Mighty Sky

The Mighty Sky BNC Records, $14.98, www.themightysky.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: For her first children’s album, Chapman (who is a star Nashville singer/songwriter) turned her musical attentions to the sky to create this heavenly album that is all about astronomy. She makes the science come alive over the course of the disc’s eleven engaging, and musically diverse, tunes.

GOLD WINNER

 


Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids

Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World's Bravest KidsMoock Music – Alastair Moock and Friends, $15.00,www.singingourway.com. Ages: Toddlers through Early Elementary

Why we like it: Although he is dealing with the serious (and very personal for him) subject of pediatric cancer, Moock has created a wonderful album that is both emotionally and musically compelling. Some tunes address the topic directly (“When I Get Bald”) while others simply are uplifting songs universal to all (“This Little Light Of Mine”).

GOLD WINNER

 


Recess

RecessJustin Roberts, $15.00, www.justinrobertsmusic.com. Ages: 4-10

Why we like it: This playful set of songs proves once again just what a genius Roberts is at showing, in hooky poppy tunes, the ways a child’s thinks Top tracks here include songs about elevators (“Otis”), supermarkets (“Check Me Out, I’m At The Checkout”) and a puppy’s life (“Every Little Step”).

GOLD WINNER

 


It’s Not Fair to Me

It's Not Fair to MeRound River Records, $14.99, www.billharley.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Longtime friends Harley and Munslow open their first collaboration with the title track – a hilarious duet about childhood “injustices” that ranks as one of the year’s top songs. The album’s other nine tunes, from “Stinkeye” to “Hideous Sweater,” also excel at being smart and funny looks at being a kid.

GOLD WINNER

 


Blue Clouds by Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower

Blue Clouds by Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My FlowerSmithsonian Folkways Recordings, $14.98,www.folkways.si.edu. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: It’s a rare album that includes a medieval round and an Allman Brothers tune, not to mention songs from Japan, Korea, Hendrix and Bowie. Mitchell, however, is rare talent who can make this eclectic song collection sound wonderfully natural, and appealing, to listeners of all ages.

GOLD WINNER

 


All About Following Your Dreams…Big And Small

All About Following Your Dreams...Big And SmallCool Beans Music & East Coast Recording Company, $15.00,www.allaboutfollowingyourdreams.com. Ages: Early Elementary: 6 – 8 years

Why we like it: This 36-track compilation expertly mixes spoken word and songs to convey the idea of following one’s dreams. Because the collected selections approach this topic in different ways, the album delivers its message in a thoughtful yet entertaining manner that never feels like a classroom lesson.

GOLD WINNER

 


SILVER WINNERS


Fancy Nancy The Musical – Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording

Fancy Nancy The Musical - Original Off-Broadway Cast RecordingGhostlight Records, $14.99, www.sh-k-boom.com. Ages: Birth to 2 years

Why we like it: This musical cast album deserves a big round of applause as showcases Fancy Nancy’s move from the page to the stage. Besides staying true to Nancy’s colorful personality, this recording scores because of its well-crafted songs and strong vocal performances from the cast.

SILVER WINNER

 


Songs for Junior Rangers

Songs for Junior RangersNational Park Service, $9.95, www.nps.gov. Ages: Toddlers through Early Elementary

Why we like it: Not only does this CD contain some great music (how can you not love an album that includes a tune called the “Thaddeus Kosciuszko Polka?”) but the songs on this National Park Foundation-supported project also deliver entertaining, multi-cultural lessons about nature, geography, wildlife and American history.

SILVER WINNER

 


My Cup of Tea

My Cup of TeaHeidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band, $15.00,www.sukeyjumpmusic.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Swedberg shines throughout this CD while performing this vibrant, and diverse, collection of songs drawn from around the globe. She is known for her nifty ukulele playing but what really impresses here are the songs’ richly textured arrangements (and the recording sound great too).

SILVER WINNER

 


Gratitude Attitude: The Best Foot Forward

Gratitude Attitude: The Best Foot ForwardRecess Music, $12.99, recessmusic.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Part of the admirable Best Foot Forward Series, this themed compilation uses a strong selection of appealing songs to successfully achieve its goal of getting children to become more conscious of concepts like good manners and respectful behavior.

SILVER WINNER

 


Daddy Plays: Acoustic Rock Lullabies

Daddy Plays: Acoustic Rock LullabiesHap-Pal Music, $14.99, www.daddyplaysonline.com. Ages: Birth to 2 years

Why we like it: Eran Phillips’ expressive, yet soothing guitar playing combined with the interesting song selection make this lullaby album a cut over the rest. Gentle renditions of FM radio favorites “Wish You Were Here,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Landslide” and “Angie” fit snugly with more expected covers of “Moonshadow” and “Blackbird,” Phillips also gets bonus points for including the Simon & Garfunkel obscurity “April Come She Will” along with well-known “Scarborough Fair.”

SILVER WINNER

 


HONORS WINNERS


Beauty Land by Dani

Beauty Land by DaniDani, $12.99, www.musicbydani.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family, great for special needs

Why we like it: On this concept album, Dani does a very fine job creating a vivid fairy tale-like musical (concerning a brother and sister, a cruel witch, a magical forest and Beauty Land) that has a good story (although some moments may be too scary for very young kids) and catchy songs.

HONORS WINNER

 


Count, Add, Subtract! Fun with Math, Music and Movement by Hap-Pal Music

Count, Add, Subtract! Fun with Math, Music and Movement by Hap-Pal MusicHap-Pal Music, $14.95, www.happalmer.com. Ages: Preschool through Early Elementary

Why we like it: This CD adds up to one of the best albums made about math. The veteran children’s musician performs the masterfully task of taking basic concepts and turning them into instructive and entertaining tunes for early elementary school-aged kids (or maybe even older ones too).

HONORS WINNER

 


I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!) – Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble

I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!)Crosspulse Media, $15.00, www.crosspulse.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Part of the admirable Best Foot Forward Series, this themed compilation uses a strong selection of appealing songs to successfully achieve its goal of getting children to become more conscious of concepts like good manners and respectful behavior.

HONORS WINNER

 


Michael Janisch’s Jazz For Babies Calm & Soothing Lullabies

Michael Janisch's Jazz For Babies Calm & Soothing LullabiesJazz For Babies, Ltd., $14.99, www.jazzforbabies.org. Ages: Fun for the entire family, great for special needs

Why we like it: Michael Janisch’s entire Jazz For Babies series succeeds in delivering gentle music for young and old listeners alike. The Vibraphone Album ranks the highest of the series’ five CDs because it spotlights this less familiar instrument that also creates music with a calming vibe.

HONORS WINNER

 


Whatever I Want To Be – Ilana Melmed

Whatever I Want To Be - Ilana MelmedYoung Avenue Kids, $12.98, www.youngavenuekids.com. Ages: Preschool through Early Elementary

Why we like it: Here is an album that does a very fine job making classical music relatable to children. Besides Ilana Melmed’s catchy adaptations of classical pieces, the CD also features tracks where children talk about the conductors whose works are the bases of Melmed’s songs.

HONORS WINNER

 


SPOKEN WORD WINNERS


The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen

The DarkLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99,www.hachettebookgroup.com. Ages: Tweens & Teens, 9 – 15 years.

Why we like it: Laszlo is afraid of the dark. This is the age-old story of a child being afraid of the dark, but it updates those fears with a unique look. Caldecott award-winning Jon Klassen provides the retro illustrations. Don’t miss the CD read by best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s whose voice will transport you to Laszlo’s dark, dark home.

GOLD WINNER

 


Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin, Read by Kim Mai Guest (Spoken Word)

Starry River of the SkyHachette Audio, $22.98 , www.hachettebookgroup.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family.

Why we like it: A companion book to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, this book is about a runaway named Rendi and a missing moon. Lin cleverly weaves in Chinese folktales and continues her trademark lyrical style. This book is a cultural journey. Readers will feel enlightened.

GOLD WINNER

 


Pete Seeger: The Storm King – Stories, Narratives, Poems: Spoken Word Set to a World of Music

Pete Seeger: The Storm KingHachette Audio, $19.98 per issue,peteseegerthestormking.com. Ages: Tweens & Teens: 9 – 15 years

Why we like it: Fans of Pete Seeger will welcome this audio collection. His spoken words recount stories, narratives, and poems and it’s set to music created by almost 50 musicians with diverse traditions. Seeger turned 94 in 2013 and this is a fitting tribute to his talents.

SILVER WINNER

 


The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Read by Jonathan Davis

The Watcher in the ShadowsHachette Audio, $24.98 , www.hachettebookgroup.com. Ages: Tweens & Teens: 9 – 15 years

Why we like it: Looking for a chilling, gothic thriller, horror-lite read with a good dose of magical realism and a pinch of teen romance? This book reveals the secrets of a town, a murder mystery, a monstrous shadow, eccentric characters, and dark and twisty adventures. Not for everyone. Must love the darker side of stories.

HONORS WINNER


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