Unlike trinkets and toys that may quickly be forgotten, Grandma J (my mom) finds gifts that always provide the girls with hours of fun. Having been an elementary school teacher for over 30 years, she has taught me much about parenting, teaching, and how to pick gifts that last. This past Christmas she did not disappoint. She combined her large gift for the girls this year (more on that in another post) but gave each girl a stocking filled with some fun goodies. The ongoing favourite has been the Juno Award winning CD Music Soup by Canadian children's artist, Jennifer Gould.
From a first listen I could tell Jennifer had experience as a musical theatre performer. Her voice has character, spunk and the ability to weave a story that young listeners (and their parents) will enjoy. Jennifer is also a preschool music educator and a mother, and both of these experiences filter into her music. She understands what will get kids singing, giggling, and dancing along! Don't be surprised if you find your kids (or yourself) humming her catchy tunes throughout the day.
Her songs speak to the issues and experiences of her young listeners. Gina Meana tells the tale of the meanest girl in school who eventually changes her ways and becomes "the nicest girl we know." The Lemonade Song is the musical sales pitch for the "Worlds Best Lemonade" that salesman woefully continues to decrease in price throughout the song due to limited demand. You and Me is a fun anthem that teaches despite being different on the outside, we are all the same on the inside, a great message for children. Fry A Hot Dog is a comical musical exchange between Jen and a young singer who is singing Frere Jacque the way she hears it. This one always makes me giggle because as a child I thought the words for Tiny Dancer were "Hold me closer Tony Danza". I watched just a little Who's the Boss growing up ;)
Bria and Malia's favorite song is probably Googali Eyes, the story of a Monster who does not think he can ever fulfill his life's destiny to be a terrifying monster because of his cute googali eyes. Luckily he meets another monster with googali eyes who teaches him he is still a scary monster even with his googali eyes. In fact Mimi just busted out the songs catchy chorus (Googali eyes, googali eyes, goo-ga, goo-ga, googali eyes!) as she plays beside me, no joke! The girls can't get enough of Googali Eyes (I think we need to make our own Googali Eyes Monster craft!).
My tune is the action song Shake your Hands! Each verse encourages dancers (C'mon everybody it's time to...) to add a new, fast paced action that is simple for the youngest dancer to pick up before "it's time to STOP!" This start and stop song is perfect for burning off some extra energy, shake those sillies out, and practice starting and stopping skills.
If you're looking for a CD to satisfy your youngest music lovers over Spring Break I definitely recommend giving Music Soup a taste!