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

Love Bug!

Love Bug!

Fall 2016 Music
Ages: 2 - 8 yrs.
Producer: Small Kin Music
CD Price: $12.97

Baltimore-based ventriloquist, author, musician, and composer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin creates books, CDs, and live children's performances under the moniker Silly Goose and Val.

Love Bug!, Smalkin's latest CD, focuses purely on her musical repertoire, which is particularly strong here. Aided by keyboardist Mark Stocker and percussionist Chris Savage, Smalkin presents ten original compositions and two traditional tunes, sung in her clear, melodic voice, and set to some very memorable music.

The album begins with "How Do You Do," a greeting polka that celebrates family and friends, followed by the gentle rocking title tune, and the syncopated jazzy, animal-sounds jazz of "Zoo 'n' Doo Dah. Highlights include the very danceable "Funky Monkey" salsa, the cool lounge jazz of "Sloth-Three Toed," and the Manhattan Transfer-like bebop of "Down Diddley Down," which reminds children that if they fall down, they can just get right back up. Two fine reinterpretations of traditional songs are included; the famous Caribbean children's tune "Tingalayo," and the popular movement song "Hey Betty Martin." Animal-themed originals such as "Barnyard Song" and "Birdie," also add to festivities. Silly Goose makes a brief cameo on a whimsical rendition of "(I'm bringing home a baby) Bumble Bee," before the album concludes with the slightly techno movement song "Touch the Ground." The CD comes with a 32-page illustrated songbook complete with lyrics, musical notation, suggested activities and coloring pages.

Valerie Leonhart Smalkin displays her obvious love and mastery of jazz influences. In many ways more musically mature than previous her Silly Goose outings, this tuneful CD will delight parents as well as their children.

Lahri Bond   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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Small Kin Music

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