As a parent and youth librarian, I’m a big fan of children’s music that doesn’t prompt parents to want to hide in a corner /jump out a window. The following are my current “Top Ten” favorite kids albums (including local Portland, Oregon rocker Mo Phillips). Maybe I’ll do a separate post with honorable mentions because it’s so hard to choose (Jack Johnson and Friends Sing-a-longs and Lullabies , They Might Be Giants, For the Kids (various artists) and Caspar Babypants would definately be included).
I grew up in the 70’s listening to artists like Marlo Thomas, Peter, Paula and Mary, Burl Ives, Schoolhouse Rock, The Beach Boys, and Pete Seeger. You can probably tell that now I favor folk and rock music a bit, and although I recognize the value of nursery rhymes and albums like this one, I rarely choose them when I’m reaching for something to inspire a living room dancy party with my kids. For more ideas on children’s music that doesn’t suck, check out the excellent blog Zooglobble!
2) Family Time by Ziggy Marley 2009
This one is probably in my top 3 for family listening. It’s just that happy and fun.
3) Fascinating Creatures by Frances England 2006
I’m not embarrassed to admit this album has temporarily replaced Alicia Keys in my car and yep, I listen to it even without the kids along. I can’t wait to hear her new album, “Blink of An Eye” coming out August 6!
4) Songs for Wiggleworms (2000) and
5) Wiggleworms Love You (various artists) (2005)
Well-known, more traditional children’s songs done with class.
6) Putumayo Kid’s albums (various titles and artists)
Where do I begin? I haven’t heard a Putumayo kid’s album I didn’t like. These are the ones I grab to play before and after story time- even if I’ve never heard it before, I know it’s going to be good listenin’. My favorites include Jazz Playground, Dreamland, and Brazilian Playground.
7) Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie by Elizabeth Mitchell 2012
I love every Elizabeth Mitchell album out there, but this is a recent one I have played a billion times.
8) The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band 2010
If you’ve ever attended a preschool story time, chances are you’ve heard Laurie Berkner. My toddler loves “Bumblebee Buzz Buzz” so much he asks for it several times a day. Her songs are silly, catchy, and totally in tune with little ones.
9) Robot Rodeo by Mo Phillips 2010
“Rock” He’s a creative, funny, weird, talented local rocker who reminds me a bit of Jack Black and whose album Robot Rodeo is a favorite. Frankly I’d listen to anything he does. He gets kids. His music is worth checking out and if you’re a local, get your kids to a concert!
10) Catch That Train by Dan Zanes and Friends 2011
What the what? Apparently musician Dan Zanes has teamed up with Elizabeth Mitchell. The result is “Turn Turn Turn” and I can’t wait to hear it. Check out this video where Dan tries to teach you how to play the song “Catch That Train”. Oh, if only I had a guitar…