I love it when I find children’s CDs that keep my kids entertained in the car and at the same time keep me from wanting to pull my hair out. We mostly need these awesome CDs when driving around town running errand after errand because that seems to make everyone grumpy.
This summer I found my kids becoming repeat listeners (much better than repeat offenders) of Take It Outside by the Okee Dokee Brothers and The best Candy in the Whole World by Bill Harley. One is a lot country and bluegrass with some pop mixed in, while the other is an enchanting collection of stories and song.
The Okee Dokee Brothers (Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing) have done a great job combining some downright catchy bluegrass music with make-you-smile lyrics for a CD that has our entire family singing. We know the words to our faves like “Bluegrass for Breakfast” and “Neighbors” (Lauren’s favorite line is about the women who only eats meat because killing vegetables is cruel) and sing along every time they’re played. I love the songs that do a little teaching amidst the lyrics like “Antidisestablishmentarianism” and “What We Got.”
The only thing Take It Outside is lacking is a local live performance by the Okee Dokee Brothers. Looking at pictures and videos on their site and hearing the music in the car makes me really wish we could take a trip to their hometown in Colorado and see them in person. I guarantee we’d be singing right along with them!
As for a great storyteller, look no further than Bill Harley, the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, storyteller, author and playwright. Called “the Mark Twain of contemporary children’s music” by Entertainment Weekly, he also ought to be called the Mark Twain of children’s storytelling. His storytelling skills are in full force in The Best Candy in the Whole World. I was honestly surprised when my kids—all ages—sat quietly while Harley weaved his tale about a boy and a magic piece of candy and the chaos that ensued at his school. They listened to the entire thing and then begged for more. For the most part my kids listened to that 67-minute CD from start to finish without a peep. And they’ve listened to it many time since then. It is heaven when Harley’s telling his stories.
The Best Candy in the Whole World has a total of 5 stories, a couple of which are songs. I’d say my favorite two are “A Walk Around the Block” and “Jack and the Singing Leaves.” That last one even had my husband chuckling in places throughout the story. I can see why Harley has been a long-time contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered” and performs nationally at venues ranging from concert halls to classrooms.
Summer road trips may be nearing their end but the holidays (and Grandma’s house) are just around the corner. I’d stock up now on these two little goodies so you can preserve a little of your sanity as you head over the river and through the woods this winter.—Emily
*** Giveaway! We’re giving away one (1) set of Take It Outside and The Best Candy in the Whole World (one CD of each)! ***
Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• Tell us your favorite road trip of 2010 so far.
• ”Like” BOTH the Okee Dokee Brothers (here) AND Bill Harley (here) on Facebook.
• Follow the Okee Dokee Brothers on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
• Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
• Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL to your blog post.
Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: September 30, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.
- Congratulations to Lisa L., the winner of the CD gift set giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!