Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Audio : Storytelling
The Cat Came Back: Stories & Songs with a Jazzy Twist

The Cat Came Back: Stories & Songs with a Jazzy Twist

Spring 2015 Storytelling
Ages: 5 - 12 yrs.
Producer: April Armstrong
CD Price: $15.00

Stage and screen professional April Armstrong captivates in this ebullient roundup of tall tales from near and far. Lively and deft, Armstrong puts listeners smack in the middle of the action in a "Rumpelstiltskin"-reminiscent West African folk tale, "Anansi and the Sky Chief's Daughter," a trickster tale from South Africa, "Sankhambi & The Honey Cave" (how monkeys came to swing from tree to tree); an adaptation of James Howe's "I Wish I Were a Butterfly," in which a sad cricket learns the meaning of true beauty; and "The Story of Chicken-Licken or How Farm Fowl Kicked Fox's Behind," a funny, cheeky take on the traditional story with contemporary references. (Armstrong's songs on the album-"Straighten Up and Fly Right," "The Cat Came Back," "Old Mother Hubbard's Blues"-are pleasant, but her storytelling is the big draw here.) Jazz piano and percussion accompaniment by Mario Sprouse and Napoleon Revels-Bey, respectively, punctuate, reflect and underscore Armstrong's fine tale-spinning.

Lynne Heffley   ©2015 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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