A Cappella for Kids

Yes, there is more to music for kids than annoying purple dinosaurs! Some of it the songs are fun, other tunes are educational. Some of the albums have music that is heartwarming, others have music from around the globe, and still others have the lullabies to put your very littlest ones to sleep. It’s music for them to grow up with, covering all ages from toddler to the pre-boy-band age group, and if you’ve dreamed of forming that family a cappella group, this is a way to indoctrinate them into the love of a cappella from a very young age.

Dick Van Dyke & The Vantastixs: Put on a Happy Face

Put On A Happy Face
You've Got A Friend In Me
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Baby Of Mine
High Hopes
Bare Necessities
Pick Yourself Up
A Lover's Question
It's Not Easy Being Green
Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive
Theme From DickVan Dyke Show
A Visit From St. Nicholas (Twas The Night Before Christmas)
Old Fashioned Christmas

Dick Van Dyke, who all of us loved in "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Disney's "Mary Poppins" "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and many others, ordered some a cappella CDs from us awhile back and we mentioned the fact on the acappellanews.com news blog. Mike Mendyke, formerly of Five O'Clock Shadow, read this and soon thereafter happened to run into Dick in a Starbucks. One thing lead to another and soon they formed a quartet that would sing on the set of "Diagnosis: Murder". We love stories like this, and Dick Van Dyke looks and sounds great on these 14 cuts! "Put On A Happy Face" from Bye Bye Birdie, Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Baby of Mine" from Dumbo, "High Hopes," "Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book, "Pick Yourself Up," "A Lover's Wuestion," "It's Not Easy Green," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive," and the heartwarming "Theme from Dick Van Dyke Show," with unpublished lyrics attributed to Morey Amsterdam. Two bonus cuts are Dick reciting "A Visit from St. Nicolas" (Twas the Night Before Christmas) and "Old Fashioned Christmas" a nice original by Bryan and Michael. Dick Van Dyke is as funny, personable and entertaining as ever, and Eric, Michael and Bryan, the Vantastix, provide great backup vocals, solos, harmonies and stellar arrangements for all the songs. "Put on a Happy Face," obviously a labor of love for Van Dyke, did exactly that for us, and we're sure this gem will be loved by children and fans of all ages!

Listen to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in RealAudio.

2513 CD $16.95

Go Fish: Party Like A Preschooler

Do Your Ears Hang Low
The Wheels on the Bus
The Cow and the Peanut
Pop Goes the Weasel
Five Little Monkeys
The A,B,Cs
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
If Your Happy and You Know It
The Crazy Dance
Itsy Bitsy Spider
The Laughing Song
It's Hard to be Cool (in a mini-van)

3-man Go Fish have 9 best-selling collections of their Contemporary Christian original tunes in the PAC catalog. "Party Like A Preschooler, is all accompanied covers, although all of them feature cutting-edge arrangements by the group. But the purpose of "Party" is more simple than previous recordings, which dealt with Christian issues and ways of seeing the world, "Party" is simply fun, sing-along and dance-along music for kids, done with amazing energy, joy and spirit by the group. "Do Your Ears Hang Low," "The Wheels on the Bus," "Pop Goes the Weasel," "5 Little Monkeys," "The A,B,Cs," "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"…these were as familiar as our breath when we were growing up, but we never heard them done like this. Kids will love "Party Like a Preschooler," and their parents will dig it too. As the headline in the liner notes says, this is "Great music for kids that won't drive parents bonkers." In fact there's a bonus track for dads, "It's hard to be cool (in a mini-van)!"

Listen to "Pop Goes the Weasel" in RealAudio.

2258 CD $9.95

Go Fish: Snooze

Catch A Falling Star
The All Day Song
Little Buckaroo
You're My Little Girl
You Are Mine
Sail Away
Welcome To The World

Since they have all married and some have become fathers, the members of one of our favorite Contemporary Christian groups, all-male a cappella trio Go Fish, have released some excellent material directed at their own and other children. "Splash," "Superstar" and the new DVD, "Showtime" are all winners, and "Snooze" is no exception. We were especially impressed with originals by group member Jamie Statema, who wrote the sweet title tune, "Little Buckaroo," "You Are Mine," "You're My Little Girl" and "Awake." We also liked the traditional "SkinnaMarinkyDinkyDink" and a pair of originals by Billy Sprague, "Sail Away" and "Welcome to the World." You can see the love here in the faces of the 3 dads, feel it in their voices as they sing these touching songs, and hear it in the lyrics. "You Are Mine" is a powerful lullabye, letting a child know that they are unconditionally loved and protected as they go to sleep—a big improvement on the fairly scary concept of "If I should die before I wake." Great stuff especially for parents and children from Go Fish!

Listen to "SkinnMarinkyDinkyDink" in RealAudio.

3057 CD $14.95

Coco's Lunch: Rat Trap Snap!

Rat Trap Snap
Everybody Let's Dance
Little Miss Muffet
An Alien
At My Table
Baby In Her Belly
I Sweep My Feet
Oh When The Saints
Nowhere Train
A Frog
In My Throat

Australia's hottest and most innovative all-woman a cappella quintet Coco's Lunch are dedicated to composing and performing original and inspiring music, and they succeed with relish on "Rat Trap Snap!" These 14 group-written and composed songs are clever, jazzy, catchy and fun. Check out the faux horns on the bouncy "Let's Dance," tap your feet to the rhythmic, saucy salsa tune "Fire" and soaring "Away" ( both with non-vocal percussion), enjoy the silly, jazzy "Little Miss Muffet," the McFerrinesque "Nip," and the highly instructional "Baby in Her Belly." "I Sweep My Feet" enters the mind of a precocious child, "Nowhere Train" rolls on a vocal percussion track, and "Rain" and the title tune are surreal romps. "Snap" is a refreshing, surprising joy.

Listen to Rat Trap Snap in Real Audio

9870 CD$14.98

King's Singers with Dame Judi Dench: Kid's Stuff

Teddy Bear's Picnic
Humpty Dumpty - Old King Cole - The Grand Old Duke Of York
This Old Man
Over The Hills And Far Away
King John's Christmas
The Riddle Song
Walking In The Air
Yellow Submarine
The Owl And The Pussycat
Here We Go Down The Line
Lavender's Blue
Wendell The Worm
I Know an Old Woman
Frog Went a-Courtin' - We All Stand Together

The King Singer1s and Dame Judi Dench tell the tales we all know and love. Embrace the charm of this rare treat made for children of all ages! The Teddy Bear1s Picnic and Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, The merry soul, Old King Cole and Duke of York, the Grandest of them all. This old man, a dog and a bone. "Over the Hills and Far Away" for days and days alone. Walking on air or submerged in a "Yellow Submarine", or with an owl and a pussycat on a ship of pea green. Boys and girls and blackbirds four and twenty, they all diddle diddle in lavender blue fields of plenty. Wendell, the sunburned worm, an old woman1s fate with a fly, the frog he went a-courtin while we all stand together, together you and I.

Listen to "Humpty Dumpty Medley" and "I Know An Old Woman" in Real Audio

6495 CD $15.98

King'singers and Cambridge Singers: Three Musical Fables

The Reluctant Dragon
Brother Heinrich's Christmas
The Wind In The Willow

This is a delightful CD for children (and eavesdropping adults), gathering together three "musical fables" that John Rutter wrote for Christmas concerts given by the Kingžs Singers and the COL Sinfonia; "The Reluctant Dragon" and "The Wind in the Willows" based on Kenneth Grahame stories, adapted by David Grant. "Brother Heinrichžs Christmas" was written for a Christmas TV special from Salisbury Cathedral, with Rutter writing the story as well as the music. This is like the sound track to a musical, with Richard Baker narrating "Dragon" and "Willows," and Brian Kay narrating "Brother," and Anthony Holt, for instance, playing St. George in "Dragon" and Toad in "Willows." The KingžSingers and the Cambridge Singers give sweet and entertaining performances, and we can only say that we would have loved to have seen the concerts and the TV special!
6657 CD $15.98

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Gift of the Tortoise

Kanje Kanje
Rain Chant
There Come Our Mothers
Finger Dance
Vulani Ringi Ring
Boy Who Turned Into a Cat
Paparam Vingo
Two Shellent
Mbube (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
Peace Be With You

This release from Ladysmith takes the entire family on an enchanting musical journey trough the rich and wondrous land of the Zulu people. The combination of great music and lively introductions in English delights children and adults alike.
9100 CD $12.98

Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Danny Glover: How The Leopard Got His Spots

Another winner in the Rabbit Ears series, combining the finest musicians, in this case Ladysmith; with the powerful voices of star actors and actresses, in this case Danny Glover; to re-tell a classic children's story aimed at the whole family. In other words, they went for the highest quality on all fronts, and it shows. "How the Leopard," of course, takes place in Africa, and Ladysmith's music almost defines the sound of Africa. Glover's gravelly voice holds our attention on every word. A classic story, presented with some of the most powerful vocals on the planet (both sung and spoken)–it adds up to a winner. And the dozens of awards, from Grammys to Parent's Choice, only tell us what we already know!

9107 CD $12.98

Manhattan Transfer: Tubby The Tuba

Tubby The Tuba
Tubby At The Circus
Tubby Meets A Jazz Band
The Further Adventures Of Tubby The Tuba

The relationship of Tubby The Tuba to a cappella music is peripheral at best. One of the great jazz singing groups of all time, Manhattan Transfer, provide all the voices, sound effects and occasional little snatches of song in this delightful recording. Tubby was created by Paul Tripp (who wrote the stories) and George Kleinsinger (who composed the music) in 1946. It is the most engaging way that children could possibly learn about the instruments in an orchestra. Tubby is a disgruntled tuba, tired of simply playing oom-pah, who embarks on four adventures to find something more interesting. Three of the adventures use a full orchestra, while in the other, Tubby takes his melody in a suitcase and travels to the big city. There he meets a Jazz band who play a clarinet, trumpet, trombone, piano and drums. The interpretation of instrument's songs by the the singers is wonderful! We recommend this recording highly, particularly, but not exclusively for children.
4209 CD $10.98

Gunner Madson: Ants In My Pants

Ants In My Pants
Welcome To My Fog
Don't Shake Hands With A One-Eyed Pirate
Tuna Fish
Old Baloney
Like Two Coconuts
And The Children Rolled
Ballad Of The Lonesome Rider
Lonely Dog Tango
I Am Loved
Are We There Yet?
Mayonnaise and Pumpernickel Bread
Home On The Range

Gunnar Madsen is of course one of the founders of the legendary Bobs, who celebrated their 20th anniversary by releasing the excellent CD "Coaster" on PAC Records. This is his 2nd children's CD on G-Spot Records, the first being the very well-received "Old Mr. Mackle Hackle." The kids are treated to 13 innovative and funny original songs, the titles of which tell the story: "Ants In My Pants" (sung by "Elvis"), "Welcome to my Fog", the rollicking "Don't Shake Hands With A One-Eyed Pirate," "Tuna Fish" ("My mom named me Tuna Fish..."), "Old Baloney," "Like Two Coconuts," the hilarious "And the Children Rolled," "Ballad of the Lonesome Rider," "Lonely Dog Tango," "I Am Loved," the eternal question, "Are We There Yet?," "Mayonnaise and Pumpernickel Bread," and "Home on the Range." This is silly, slightly irreverent give-kids-credit-for-being-intelligent-like-"Rocky and Bullwinkle"-did stuff that will score bigtime with them. Go, Gunnar!
2961 CD $14.98

Stormy Weather: Doo Wop Yule Pop

Hardrock, Coco & Joe
Suzy Snowflake
Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer
Jingle Bell Rock
Christmas Round
White Christmas
A Yule Tide Aire
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
All I Want For Christmas
Doo Wop Yule Pop
Little Drummer Boy/ Do You Hear What I Hear
Little Red Shoes
Jingle Bells
Hey Santa Claus
Lady Millennium

Subtitled "a Christmas collection for kids," "Doo Wop Yule Pop" is just plain fun at any age. Contemporary doo-wop mixed quintet Stormy Weather are from Gary, Indiana, and their versions of "Jingle Bells," "A Yule Tide Aire," "Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer" and so many more (15 in all), are musically solid and amazingly creative. "Hardrock, Coco and Joe" and "Suzy Snowflake" are definitely directed at the little curtain climbers, who will be enthralled. "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" is anchored by a nimble vocal bass performance (bass takes the lead for two verses on "White Christmas"). "All I Want For Christmas" is reggaeized; "Hey Santa Claus," written by the Moonglows' Harvey Fuqua, (accompanied) swings hard. Last cut: "Lady Millenium," which will get you in the mood for New Year's Eve!

Listen to " Doo Wop Yule Pop" in Real Audio.

8031 CD $14.98

Stormy Weather: Doo Wop & Lollypops

The Bannana Boat Song
Little Star
The Lion Sleeps Tonite
ABC's (Of Love)
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Street Corner Serenade
Rendezvous On Euclid Avenue
Rock-n-Roll Lullabye
Morse Code Of Love
Come Go With Me
Peanut Butter
Little Red Shoes

Pride of Gary/Hammond Indiana, 4-man, one woman Doo-Woppers Stormy Weather has impressed us with five excellent CDS prior to "LolliPops," "15 Rhapsodies from the Roots of Rock-n-Roll" directed at ages "2 to 10 and Beyond." "The Banana Boat Song," "Little Star," the silly "Alley Oop," based on a comic strip that actually died with its cartoonist, the sweet, soaring "Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Rock-n-Roll Lullabye" (lightly accompanied), "Morse Code of Love," "Iko Iko" (some non-vocal percussion), "Come Go with Me," "Peanut Butter" and "Little Red Shoes"—these are songs that are big fun to harmonize and listen to, on a street corner, concert stage or recording studio, which is one of the main things we love about Doo Wop. So we applaud SW's intention to turn kids on to Doo Wop and thoroughly enjoyed every cut on "LolliPops" (it's probably our inner child, harmonizing on our inner street corner!).

8206 CD $12.98

Sweet Honey in the Rock: All For Freedom

So Glad I'm Here
Down in the Valley Two by Two
The Little Shekere
The Little Red Caboose
All For Freedom
Everybody Ought to Know
Calypso Freedom
Ise Oluwa
Meeting at the Building
Johanna and Rhody
Make New Friends
Horse and Buggy
Alunde and the Story of Ono

Bernice Johnson Reagon, the founder of Sweet Honey, is a scholar of African-American children's lore from the South, including songs, dances, games and stories. Two other members, Aisha Kahlil and Nitanju Bolade Casel, together conduct workshops and performances for youngsters. It's no surprise that these talanted singers produced this recording specifically for children. The songs include a one from the Georgia Sea Island Singers, one written by Leadbelly, a Yoruba song from Nigeria, traditional African-American songs and originals by the group. Each song is introduced with enough information to give a child an idea of what it's about. This is a grand way to introduce young people to other cultures. As in all of Sweet Honey's music, freedom for you, me and everyone is the most obvious message carried by song straight to the heart. The final track is a musically accompanied fantasy story, "Alunde And The Story Of Ono" in which the song "Alunde"(which means 'happy new day') is the most prized possession of the people of Ono. Thank you, Sweet Honey In The Rock! Songlist
8511 CD $14.98

Sweet Honey in the Rock: I Got Shoes

I Got Shoes
African Numbers 20
Tama Tama Tamali
Little David Play on Your Harp
African Numbers 12
Freedom Now
Run Molly Run
Young and Positive
African Numbers 8
Deep Blue Sea
Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me
African Numbers 10
Freedom Train
African Numbers 16
Down the Road I Be Going
Look! Look! The Sun Woke Up!
Spirit Lullaby

This is a great recording for children to be introduced to music of African cultures, gospel, both traditional and original African-American children's songs and supportive songs for growing youngsters. "I Got Shoes" could well be considered for very young children. A series of five "African Numbers" has vocal backgrounds of African texture on top of which are counted numbers in English (1-20), Japanese (1-12), Swahili (1-8), French (1-10) and Spanish (1-16). There is a rap song featuring a refrain by the Sweet Honey In The Rock Children's Chorus which deals with ethics on a young persons level. It is entitled "Young and Positive" and tells kids that they are the future and how to keep their sights set high. There is the archetypical Sweet Honey message in "Freedom Train." The whole recording is like a composition that ends with one of the most beautiful songs they have ever sung, "Spirit Lullaby." Sweet Honey is extraordinary!
8509 CD $12.98

A Cappella Company: Lullabies

Let's Go Dreamin'
Jesus Loves Me
Children's Prayer
Rocking Song
Resting In Jesus
Close Your Eyes
Don't Fear The Storm
Don't Cry
Lover Of A Sleeping Child
Sleep Tight

The liner notes just include the words to these sweet Christian lullabies, and donžt even mention the talented singers. Acappella Company has previously brought us "Classics Long Play," "Wedding Long Play" and "Word of God Long Play," all excellent, popular Contemporary Christian CDs. There are 10 songs here, filled with love, feeling and beautiful harmonies: "Letžs Go Dreaminž," "Jesus Loves Me," "Childrenžs Prayer," "Rocking Song," "Resting In Jesus," "Close Your Eyes," "Donžt Fear The Storm," "Donžt Cry," "Lover of a Sleeping Child" and "Sleep Tight." Nighty-night!
3220 CD $12.98

Beijing Angelic Choir: Chinese Lullabies

You-you-zha (Man)
Clear Moon, Quiet Winds (Northeastern China)
Hammock Hanging Beween Betel Trees (Guangdong)
Puyuma Lullaby (Taiwan)
Tu-jia Lullaby (Hunan)
A-ni-qie-er (Hani tribe, Yunnan)
Kitty, Stop Meowing (Anhul)
Li Lullaby (Hainan)
Lullaby of the Fisherman's Family (Guangxi)
Tibetan Lullaby (Western Tibet)
My Brother, Pu-ru-lai (Inner Mongolian)
A-lai, Ba-lang-mu (Ulger)

The Beijing Angelic Choir, composed of the best voices from several local choirs in Beijing, is distinguished by their sweet, superbly trained voices and musical training. Included are 12 songs: "You-you-zha," "Clear Moon, Quiet Winds," "Hammock Hanging Between Betel Trees," "Puyama Lullaby," "Tu-jia Lullaby," "A-ni-qie-er," "Kitty, Stop Meowing," "Li Lullaby," "Lullaby of the Fisherman's Family," "Tibetan Lullaby," "My Brother, Pu-ru-lai" and "A-lai, Ba-lang-mu." These songs are lightly accompanied, with emphasis, of course, on the singing of the children. The sound is dreamlike, sweet and soaring, almost other-worldly. We'd love to learn more about the beautiful, haunting lullabies, but most of the liner notes are in Chinese and we can only use our imagination. "Lullabies" was a finalist for the 1996 NAIRD award for the Best Children's Music, and is stunningly lovely CD! Songlist

6753 CD $15.98

Various Artists: Lullaby: A Collection

Swedish Lullaby
Courtyard Lullaby
A La Nanita Nana
Be Still My Child
Sakura/ Owayare
All The Pretty Horses
Down By The Salley Gardens
Sleep, Little One, Sleep
Sweet Lullaby
Spirit Lullaby
Common Thread

This CD is a fabulous mix of a cappella and accompanied lullabies. With songs from Bobby McFerrin, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Take 6, this is sure to be a bedtime favorite.
9311 CD $12.98

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