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Bill Harley’s “High Dive” gets a high five!

February 2nd, 2012

My kids love a good story, and usually it’s their father whose sharing them, but last night we popped in Bill Harley’s High Dive and Other Things That Could Have Happened into the CD player as we headed to a school function and by dang if that CD didn’t have us all smiling. Heck, we even laughed out loud a few times!

I really shouldn’t be surprised. We loved Harley’s The Best Candy in the Whole World CD. (You can read my review of that CD here.) And I’m not a big fan of “books on tape,” but Harley has made me a believer.

We were sent a copy of Harley’s High Dive but had yet to listen to it. I wasn’t sure if my kids would sit through 12-minute and even 20+-minute stories, but they totally did. In fact, they wanted to sit in the car when we  pulled into the garage just so they could finish hearing the end of “Field Trip.”

Entertainment Weekly has called Harley “the Mark Twain of contemporary children’s music,” and I believe that to be true. His “High Dive” had us all laughing and giggling through the entire story and a certain line about a certain goat in “Field Trip” had Nathan chuckling long after Harley had moved on with his story.

Comments heard from the back seat:

“That is the awesomest!” ~ George

“No, that is super fun!” ~ Olivia

“My cheeks hurt from smiling so much!” ~ Lauren

My cheeks totally hurt—I was smiling for the 15-minute drive to and from the school event. We finished up the CD the next day and George asked to play it again from the very beginning. Sadly, we had just pulled into the garage and I’m unsure of the van’s battery life. We’ll just have to go on another family drive!

Bill Harley’s High Dive and Other Things That Could Have Happened is available starting February 14th. You can read more about it here and check out Bill Harley’s on Facebook too.

Let’s celebrate children of all abilities {giveaway}

April 1st, 2011

Love Me For Who I AmDid you know April is Autism Awareness month? I didn’t until I was asked to check out Brady Rymer’s new release, Love Me for Who I Am, a CD featuring 10 songs that honor kids of all abilities. Available on April 12th, just in time for Autism Awareness month, 5 percent of proceeds from CD sales will benefit Autism Speaks, a non-profit research and advocacy group.

These songs were inspired by the students at Celebrate the Children School, a New Jersey school for children with alternative learning styles. Many of the students are affected by autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or related disorders. The songs can be heard as anthems for differently-abled children and their families; at the same time, I think every child will find something to relate to in this collection. I hope the songs will invited deeper understanding and appreciation of children with autism and other disorders by shedding light on just how much we all have in common. ~Brady Rymer

We listened to this CD and found ourselves rocking out to many of the tunes. It is definitely one of the more enjoyable children’s CDs we own. My favorites are “Soft Things” and “Bein’ With You,” but all the songs on Love Me for Who I Am are a good time. How could they not be with titles like “Picky Eater,” “Keep Your Wiggle Alive” and “Squish Me, Squeeze Me”? You can listen to samples on BradyRymer.com and pre-order the CD on Amazon.com (or order it on iTunes now).






Even if you think you have more than enough children’s CDs, there is always room for one more especially if it celebrates children AND supports a very worthy cause. I mean, how can you say no?—Emily

** Giveaway! We are giving away one (1) copy of Love Me for Who I Am! **

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:

•  Visit BradyRymer.com, listen to the song samples and leave a comment telling us your favorite one.
•  “Like” Brady Rymer and The Little Band Who Could on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did so.
•  “Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•  Follow Boutique Cafe on Twitter and leave a comment telling us you’re our newest follower.
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: April 8, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Groove Kid Nation: Get your groove on! {giveaway}

March 27th, 2011

Groove Kid Nation’s The Wheels on the Bus takes your old-school children’s songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Three Blind Mice” and “The Wheels on the Bus” and gives them a fresh, funky feel that entertains kids while teaching them about a variety of musical instruments.

For example, check out the group’s debut video of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider Plays Piano with Fly Band”:

This is the first release in a planned series and it’s packed with instruments: piano, saxophone, trumpet, voice, flute, trombone, guitar, bass and drums. The tunes, while familiar, have a lot more funk, which helps keep kids engaged…and singing the songs long after they’re done playing.

Groove Kid NationGeorge and Livi enjoyed the variety of songs on Groove Kid Nation: The Wheels on the Bus, and I enjoyed a new take on some of the most popular children’s songs. Of course, not all the songs are old favorites. You’ll find some new favorites among the mix as well! You can check out a sampling of songs on Groove Kid Nation’s website (right-hand side of the homepage).

Super cool? Yes, because 10 percent of the wholesale price of The Wheels on the Bus is donated to CARE, a leading humanitarian organization.

Oh, and there are some pretty amazing musicians who performed on this CD. You can read the entire list here.—Emily

** Giveaway! We’re giving away one (1) copy of Groove Kid Nation: The Wheels on the Bus! **

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:

•  Visit GrooveKidNation.com and leave a comment telling us your favorite song from the sampler.
•  Follow Boutique Cafe on Twitter (or tell us you already do).
•  ”Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook (or tell us you already do).
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: April 4, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Three fun & fancy-free children’s CDs {giveaway}

December 15th, 2010

Sure, reviewing high-end diaper bags and fabulous children’s shoes is an awesome job, but what really floats my boat is the the wide variety of children’s music we’ve popped into the CD player so we can review new artists for our Daily Dish readers. I discovered some of my most favorite children’s CDs (Putumayo Kids collection for one) as a result of a Boutique Cafe review, and today I have three more CDs you might want to consider adding to your collection. (Stocking stuffers, anyone?)

Swimming in Noodles by Jim Cosgrove

Swimming in NoodlesJim Cosgrove is an award-winning performer who channeled a lot of free-wheeling energy into his latest CD, Swimming in Noodles. I love an upbeat, bounce-in-your-seat children’s CD and this one definitely fits the bill. My favorite song is “Just Like You,” which was inspired by a chance encounter Jim had with two musicians from Uganda at a hotel pool. (Cool, huh?)

George had this to say about “Little Miss Floppy Socks” when it came on the car speakers: “I like his songs!” Livi said, “He said, ‘P.U.’ That funny!” And when track 14 came on, George’s comment was, “This is a wonderful song. I like it.” I couldn’t agree more, George!

You can find Swimming in Noodles and listen to sample tracks from the CD online at JimCosgrove.com.

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Sunny Day by Elizabeth Mitchell

Sunny DayThough I generally prefer a children’s CD that makes you want to shimmy and shake, it is nice to take a little break from all that toe-tapping and enjoy something a little more mellow. Elizabeth Mitchell’s Sunny Day is that deep cleansing breath that keeps us centered. The CD features a variety of voices including Elizabeth’s husband and nine-year-old daughter plus cousins and friends. The tracks include everything from traditional American folk songs to Japanese and Korean nursery songs.

When track 2 came on, Livi’s comment was, “Hey, I yike this song!” (She still can’t figure out how to pronounce her Ls…) And when track 7 was playing, George said, “Mom, this is a different beautiful song. Keep this one, Momma.” Of course the best was track 1. George: “I love the little kid. Mom, do you love the little kid?” Me: “Yep!” George: “Me too…but not love, love, love.” (That kid is too funny!)

You can find Sunny Day, including a video and free song download of “Oh, John the Rabbit” on the Smithsonian Folkways website.

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Use Your Words
by Jeremy Zmuda of Jeremy Plays Guitar

Use Your WordsThe third CD in this roundup is Jeremy Zmuda’s Use Your Words, a more child-behavioral CD if there is such a thing. The tracks on this CD, which feature everything from jazz to rock to country-folk, are all about helping children learn “social skill development, purposeful language, and emotional concepts without compromising the joy and fun of singing and dancing.” It is definitely a teaching CD, but at least it teaches in a way kids will love. For me, 14 tracks of “parenting” is a bit much, but my kids didn’t seem to notice, so I guess that’s a good thing! They songs on Use Your Words are catchy and do teach some valuable lessons, and if it can get my kids to remember our “House Rules,” then I’m a fan!

You can find Use Your Words and even download the hit single “Jump So High” on JeremyPlaysGuitar.com.

*** We are giving away one gift set that includes a copy of Swimming in Noodles, Sunny Day and Use Your Words! ***

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:

•Leave a comment sharing with us your most favorite children’s song or CD.
“Like” Jim Cosgrove on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
“Like” Elizabeth Mitchell and Your Are My Flower on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
“Like” Jeremy Plays Guitar on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: December 22, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Tracie T., 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!

The Okee Dokee Brothers & Bill Harley make road trips doable {giveaway}

September 23rd, 2010

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.

Okee Dokee BrothersThe 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!

Best Candy in the Whole WorldAs 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!

Sugar Free Allstars–get your “funky fresh” on! {giveaway}

June 3rd, 2010

My kids love it when a new children’s CD arrives in the mail for the sole purpose of being reviewed on Boutique Cafe’s Daily Dish. I love it because it often means yet another CD I’m okay listening to over and over again. Though I definitely have my faves, much of children’s music these days has enough of a funky beat to keep parents happy in the car, and that holds true for the Sugar Free Allstars and their new Funky Fresh and Sugar Free CD.

Sugar Free Allstars

I believe this is George’s favorite CD so far all thanks to their “Little Red Wagon” song (track two). I’m not sure if I should thank the Sugar Free Allstars for this song, which George requests every time we get in the car, or send them a bill for the red wagon that is now on my son’s birthday wish list. It goes like this: climb in the car, start the engine, hear George request “the wagon song” followed immediately by his asking me yet again when he’s going to get a red wagon. Every. Time.

My personal favorites are “Rock Awesome” (track one), a good head-bobbing song, and “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da,” always a classic. Perhaps Sugar Free Allstars’ music is easy to love because the talent behind the songs, Chris (Boom!) Wiser and Rob (Dr. Rock) Martin, have been making music for five years and maintain a grown-up music career playing thir “free-wheeling groove machine” (VOX magazine) style of music at clubs and other venues across the U.S. and Europe. I like grown-up musicians who can rock both the adult and children’s music world!

Have some road trips planned this summer? You’ll want at least four or five children’s CDs for the kiddos that won’t drive you nuts. May I suggest Funky Fresh and Sugar Free by Sugar Free Allstars? (Just make sure you have a little red wagon packed somewhere among the suitcases.)—Emily

*** Giveaway! Sugar Free Allstars is giving away two (2) Funky Fresh and Sugar Free CDs!***

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:

•   Listen to sample songs from Funky Fresh and Sugar Free and leave a comment telling us your favorite.
•  “Like” the Sugar Free Allstars on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did so.
•  Follow Sugar Free Allstars (@sfas) 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: June 10, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Kendyl and Marie, the winners of the Sugar Free Allstars 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!

Debbie and Friends will make you “So, So Happy” {giveaway}

March 23rd, 2010

20100323-88s3x462gy9gm6bckfep4a71u1If a children’s CD can get my head bobbin’ in rhythm to the music then it’s worth giving a listen-to. Debbie and Friends’ new More Story Songs & Sing Alongs features a great selection of fun, interactive songs for children ages 2 to 6 (and moms writing blog posts late in the evening).

Debbie and Friends’ first CD was an award-winning one, so it comes as no surprise her next one was a much anticipated compilation. Debbie has a very pleasant, engaging voice and the music’s beat will definitely make little ones want to get up and dance. I love the lyrics in “Rosie Wrong Rhyme” and the quick beat of “I Think I Can” (and I’ve always LOVED the story of The Little Engine That Could).

Debbie_photoWhen Debbie’s not putting together a rousin’ collection of children’s music she’s the dean of the Berklee College of Music. She has over 20 years of experience in the “kindie” genre and studied music and music education at Berkless. She was a classroom music teacher and author (with over 100 books and arrangements) for many ears as well. This woman knows children’s music!

Here’s a taste of Debbie’s talent. Check out the video for “Home Run Ronnie,” track three on her More Story Songs & Sing Alongs CD:


On Debbie and Friends’ latest CD you’ll also find “Wendell,” a cumulative movement song (I couldn’t remember all the moves but I bet a four-year-old totally could) and dance mix of her hit song “Little Red.” I love a great dance mix! I mean, your kids will love this great dance mix! Go, Little Red, go!

Along with all Debbie does (including really fun sing-along videos) she maintains a blog, Kids Music Matters, and offers regularly updated band and industry news. You can learn more about Debbie and Friends on her website.—Emily

***Giveaway! Debbie and Friends is giving away two copies of their new More Story Songs & Sing Alongs CD!***

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:

•   Visit Debbie and Friends online and tell us your favorite music video.
•   Visit Kids Music Matters and let us know you stopped by.
•   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: March 30, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

  • Congratulations to Renee C. and Bhavana V., the winners of the More Story Songs & Sing Alongs 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!

Party like a twinklin’ rockstar! {giveaway}

February 16th, 2010

cd_front_plats_smBefore I started writing reviews for Boutique Cafe I had no idea so many wonderful children’s CDs existed. Of course I had a selection of children’s music but it was mostly Disney’s Silly Songs, some compilations of children’s favorites and a lullaby cassette (yes, I just typed “cassette”) or two. These days the choices are numerous and varied. We’ve featured quite a few here on the Daily Dish and I have another fun one for you today.

Party Like a Twinkle Star is the latest release from Charity & the JAMband. Who—or what—is JAM?

JAM is a hootenanny, a hullabaloo, a dance party, a shindig-bash, a festival, a family band, a rain dance, a sun song, a fairy frolic, a wander in the park, a race on the beach, a flitting floating butterfly-bop, a blundering thundering elephant-stomp, a twirling-whirling-swirling dizzy-dee fall-down boogie!

How could you not want to go right out and purchase this two-disc set after reading that? The full story of Charity and JAM is rather interesting; you can read it here.

jamband_DSCF8398_300

Party Like a Twinkle Star will have your kids twirling, frolicking and rockin’ with the first disc, Party: 10 Songs for Rocking Out. Then Charity & the JAMband will help them calm down, relax and mellow with Twinkle: 10 Songs for Tucking In.

My favorite Party songs were “Some More S’mores,” “Beach” and “We Are Stardust” (definitely a great song!). But I’d say most of my favorites came from the Twinkle disc. In fact, I loved the entire disc. Perhaps it was because it was late at night while I listened, but those tunes were peaceful, soulful and centering in a way. I’m listening to “Moon Hug” right now and I keep pausing to listen and relax and regroup. You can tell the artists behind the music have children and movement and music appreciation in mind when they created these tracks.

Along with their collection of music, Charity & the JAMband offer some wonderful children’s and grown-ups’ classes if you happen to live in the Bay Area. Since we don’t, we’ll have to settle for creating our own JAM classes here at home, though I have a feeling I’ll be popping in the Twinkle CD most often. (We have quite a bit of twirling, rollin’ and rockin’ goin’ on already.)—Emily

** Giveaway! Charity & the JAMband is giving away two (2) copies of Party Like a Twinkle Star!

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:

•  Visit Charity & the JAMband online and tell us what you think of their February “Song of the Month
•  Follow Charity & the JAMband 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: February 23, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Kowanda M. and Renee C., the winners of the Party Like a Twinkle Star 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!

Hey there, sunshine–it's time to "Rise and Shine" {giveaway}

January 28th, 2010

Rise and ShineAs I write this post the upper half of my body is bobbing along to “Going to the Moon,” ditty number eight on Rise and Shine by Key Wilde and Mr Clarke. I kid you not, I’m rockin’ and rollin’ in my office chair. Good thing it has armrests to keep me somewhat contained, because if I weren’t bobbing to track eight, I’d be movin’ and groovin’ to track three, “Favorite Names.” Seriously—this song is awesome!


bppig-kwmc31_frontThough not all songs on Rise and Shine were made for serious rockin’ and rollin’, they are all made for children with enough funk for adults to enjoy. The songs range in style from bluegrass to 80’s punk rock and were perfected as the duo of Key Wilde and Mr Clarke performed together at numerous schools and kid-friendly events. When you listen to the songs you can tell these two “get” kids.


The CD comes wonderfully packaged in a board book complete with illustrations just as offbeat as the songs. It was my kind of humor and I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through it while listening to the music. (Does that mean my sense if humor is that of an elementary-aged kid?)

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Rise and Shine is one of the newest releases from Little Monster Records, an indie kid’s music label based in Woodstock, NY. Last February I reviewed another release from Little Monster Records (Robbert Bobbert & The Bubble Machine) so it was no surprise how much I enjoyed Rise and Shine by Key Wilde and Mr Clarke. Definitely add it to your current collection of children’s CDs. Now.—Emily


* Promotion! Little Monster Records is offering Daily Dish readers a really awesome deal on Rise and Shine. Our readers can buy the book/CD combo for $9.98 and receive a free video download! You must click here or click below to purchase a copy of Rise and Shine for yourself your kids at this special price:


Get it Now!



*** Giveaway Little Monster Records is giving away two (2) copies of Rise and Shine! 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 comment for each one you do:


•  Listen to Rise and Shine in the widget above and leave a comment telling us your favorite track.

•  Become a fan of Little Monster Records on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.

•  Follow Little Monster Records 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: February 4, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.


* Congratulations to Melanie M. and Wehaf U., the winners of the Rise and Shine 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!

Folk meets contemporary on Sarah Lee Guthrie’s new children’s CD {giveaway}

December 22nd, 2009

SFW45069If you’re a fan of good ol’ folk music and would love to get your kids hooked on it too, then Sarah Lee Guthrie’s Go Waggaloo CD is a must for your collection. This 13-tack disk from the artist is a fun musical romp through traditional songs and some new ones—you’ll even find three songs with never-before-released lyrics by Woody Guthrie.

Though some of the songs on Go Waggaloo may have familiar lyrics you’ll find a new take on the traditional folk songs and some great little surprises like a cool scratching drum machine and even a song recorded on a cell phone by the Guthrie family while on a road trip. I think it is the sort of mystical “Oni’s Ponies” but can’t be sure. (I wonder if Sarah uses it as her ring tone?) Sarah’s not the only voice on Go Waggaloo. You’ll hear her husband Johnny Irion, the couple’s two daughters and a handful of family and friends (Arlo Gurthrie, Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez Seeger).

Though it wasn’t quite up there on the list of my kids’ favorite CDs (they prefer music with a little less folk and a little more funk), I found it a nice, relaxing listen compared to some of the crazier children’s tunes you’ll find in our collection. Plus I found it rather endearing to know it was the Guthrie’s daughters’ voices I was hearing sing along. Nothing like a good family singalong! My fave songs are “Go Waggaloo,” “Take Me to Show-and-Tell,” and “If Mama Had Four Hands.”

If you’d love to introduce your children to folk music then Go Waggaloo is the way to do it. Tailored to children with fun vocals, lyrics and music, your kids will be singing “She’ll be comin’ ‘round the mountain” right along with the Guthrie family in no time!—Emily

** Giveaway! Smithsonian Folkways is giving away two (2) copies of Go Waggaloo! 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:

•   Visit Go Waggaloo’s page and listen to samples from the tracks. Leave a comment telling us your favorite!
•   Become a fan of Boutique Cafe on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
•   Follow Boutique Cafe on Twitter (@BoutiqueCafe) and leave a comment telling is you’re our 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: December 29, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Wehaf and renee, the winners of the Go Waggaloo CD 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!

A super tasty multicultural children’s CD

September 30th, 2009

12If you’ve been reading the Daily Dish column here on Boutique Cafe for a while then you know I’m a big fan of Putumayo Kids and their wonderful line of cultural CDs (Celtic, African, Brazilian to name a few). I am always on the lookout for a children’s CD that parents can listen to without wanting to invest in a good pair of earplugs. The newest CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter is kid tested and mom approved (yes, just like the eve popular Kix cereal).

203I knew nothing about Hot Peas ‘N Butter before receiving Hot Peas ‘N Butter Vol. 5 to review on the Daily Dish. I went to the site and found out this group was a “[winner} of the 2006 AND the 2008 ‘Parent’s Choice Awards’” and is “a unique children’s musical group that incorporates elements of traditional Latin music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, jazz, folk, and rock.” Now THAT is my kind of children’s music!

As usual I tried to have all my kids listen to the CD but with our recent move, the CD got lost in a box somewhere until I finally unpacked it yesterday. I did have my oldest daughter listen to it, but all of a sudden these children’s CDs are, as she puts it, “for littler kids” so she didn’t have much to say about it. My littlest ones were in bed and didn’t get a chance to jam to the multicultural, distinctly Latin (love it!) music, but if I know my two-year-old, I know her tiny little bum would be shaking and groovin’ to every song on this CD.

I took a listen so I could tell you my favorite song but found pretty much everyone was a favorite song on the CD. I’m not much for the slower songs unless I’m singing my babies to sleep, and this CD was full of extremely danceable music, which I love, love, LOVE. If I had to pick a favorite or two or three I’d choose “’Round the World” (a good geography refresher); “Rayos Diferente” (who knew a song about bike safety could be so much fun!); and “Campo” (dang, I love those drums in the background!). I’m listening to “Campo” now and it brings back memories of my recent trip to San Juan and our meal at tiny restaurant in Old San Juan. Good times…

I love that you can download the lyrics and translations online, which makes you appreciate the songs even more. I can’t believe this is the fifth CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter—how did I miss the other four? I’d like to say I have a little Latin in me somewhere but alas, it’s all German, Irish and English. I’m as white as they come, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy the music on Hot Peas ‘N Butter Vol. 5 any less! Um, wait, isn’t this supposed to be a review of a children’s CD? How about I stop making this review about how much I enjoyed this CD and instead tell you how much your children are going to enjoy this CD—they are really, really going to enjoy this CD!—Emily

*** Giveaway We’re giving away a Hot Peas ‘N Butter Vol. 5 CD to two Daily Dish winners! It may sound like a small prize but this CD really is a ton of fun—and will make a great stocking stuffer! 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:

•   Visit HotPeasNButter.com, listen to a song or two and leave a comment telling us your favorite.
•   Join the Hot Peas ‘N Butter group on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
•   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 winners from the comments and contact them via email. Deadline: October 8, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

A new CD for a new season

September 15th, 2009

SS_SeasonCover.webversion_Over the past couple years there’s been a definite shift in children’s music and I like the direction it’s heading. I was never one for 10 variations of “I’m a Little Teapot” or “The Wheels on the Bus.” Don’t get me wrong, these songs are classics, but if I have to listen to children’s music then it better make me want to get up and dance as well as it makes my kids want to do so.

I had never heard of Laura Freeman before I was sent her newest CD to review on the Daily Dish. Apparently she’s had quite the music career before Somersault Season, including a few songs for adults as well. But it’s her lighthearted-yet-educational songs that have caught the ears of children and adults alike. Here’s what Freeman had to say about Somersault Season:

I wrote these songs to keep busy active bodies moving all year long. I also wrote it to remind us to notice how the natural world is always changing around us. I love watching the seasons flow from one to the other. I hope I inspire others to do so.

As usual I had my girls pop the CD in their player to get their take on Somersault Season. Unfortunately their little brother didn’t get a chance to listen to it (I think they had up their “no boys allowed sign” or something while listening). So I only have an 11- and 9-year-old’s opinion on the music and for Laura Freeman’s Somersault Season, it wasn’t as rave a review as, say, Pop Fly or Robbert Bobbert & the Bubble Machine. And I think that was solely because, in my eldest daughter’s words, Somersault Season is “kind of a little kids’ CD. Livi and George will really like it!”

So apparently while the music on Somersault Season is fun and danceable, it’s best listened to by a younger crowd. I’m thinking everyone but pre-teens and teens—they’re too cool for the seasons anyway. I would love to tell you my favorite song but I didn’t get a chance to listen to it before we moved, then it got lost amidst the boxes, and I have yet to hook up speakers to my computer so I can’t even listen to it via iTunes. But I do know it has received rave reviews and I love anything that mixes a little education with a danceable tune. Plus, if Freeman’s music is half as fun to listen to as her “My Brother’s a Monster” video is to watch (without sound, mind you) then it’s definitely worth adding to your collection!

All the world’s a playground

August 11th, 2009

At least when it comes to Putumayo Kids and their collection of Playground CDs! We’ve reviewed quite a few Putumayo Kids CDs and the reason I keep featuring them on the Daily Dish is because I truly enjoy each and every one. But it’s not just about how parent-friendly I find these children’s CDs; it’s about how much I enjoy introducing my kids to fun, danceable, multicultural music.

The two newest additions to Putumayo Kids’ Playground collection is European Playground and Picnic Playground. European Playground is a fun romp across Europe with stops in places like Switzerland, France, Germany, England and Sweden…and the trip doesn’t stop there. I mentioned 15 songs so you’ll be transported to 15 different countries with their own unique sounds. My favorites are “Den Kanei Krio” from Greece, “Trampolin” from Finland and “Tudom Én Már Mit Csinálok” from Hungary.

Here is a wonderful video from London-based Herbie Treehead, who is featured on European Playground. His “Change Song” “explores a universal theme in a fresh, new way … notingm ‘We all have to change sometimes!’”

Herbie Treehead – “Change Song” from Putumayo World Music on Vimeo.

As much as I love European Playground I prefer to sink my teeth into Picnic Playground. Anything that involves music, fun and food from a variety of countries is super sweet to my ears! From the first song (“Eat Like a Rainbow”) to the last (“Milch”) you and your kids will be movin’ and groovin’ to songs from all over the world all about healthy eating. Usually on a CD there’s a song or two you don’t mind skipping but on this one, you’ll want to eat up each and every one. It’s all very picnic-y, and with a few weeks of summer still left, that means you still have some time to head outdoors with some cold chicken, potato salad and the sounds of Picnic Playground. Of course, with the long winter months we have in Utah we’ll be bustin’ out this CD in January for an indoor picnic so we can chase away those wintertime blues!

Right now Putumayo Kids is having a contest to celebrate the release of Picnic Playground! You can submit your favorite recipes here for the Picnic Playground Recipe Contest. The contest ends August 25th so hurry! Entries will be judged on 1) Originality 2) Cultural relevance 3) Kid-friendly appeal. The top 3 recipe winners will receive the Putumayo Kids CD collection and the winning recipes will be featured here on putumayokids.com!—Emily

*** Giveaway Putumayo Kids is giving away two sets of their European and Picnic Playground CDs! Please visit the Putumayo Kids website and listen to a few of their catchy tunes. Leave a comment telling us your favorite song from either European Playground or Picnic Playground; include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winners from the comments and contact them via email. Deadline: August 18, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

** For an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway and leave a separate comment with the URL to your tweet!

** For another extra entry, blog about this giveaway and leave a separate comment with a link to your blog!

  • Congratulations to Sky and Jen, the winners of the Putumayo Kids 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!
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