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Parent Nooz Camp Guide
Posted on July 22, 2017 | 11:30 a.m.

Lee Littlewood: Make Music an Everyday Habit

Source: Lee Littlewood

Music relaxes, inspires and excites. These new children’s music CDs are lovely, wacky and fun. Prices vary due to sales outlets and digital downloads versus CD options. All are available on iTunes and Amazon, but I always try to promote smaller vendors, and independent sellers and stores.

Camp Songs with Ella Jenkins & Friends

From Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

The venerable Ella Jenkins has always wanted to record camp songs for children, and she does so with Camp Songs with Ella Jenkins & Friends with a group of kids, teachers and parents from the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

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Though many camp songs are classics, such as a rousing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” Jenkins adds in some selections from African-American spirituals, European folk songs and Jewish summer camp ditties.

“Everybody Loves Saturday Night” includes lines from a dozen languages, and the album's final five minutes, including songs “Sloop John B.” and “Goodnight Irene,” are sequenced to sound like a campfire singalong.

Jenkins, who turns 93 years old in August, is everywhere on the CD, from singing to playing harmonica to reflecting about camp to engaging with the children. Though she takes the lead on “Sipping Cider Through a Straw,” this zesty collection is music with and by children. The 25 songs are silly, fun, wild, thoughtful and satisfying, just like summertime should be.

Swing Set

From Jazzy Ash

Jazzy Ash’s fourth family album, Swing Set, celebrates time-tested tunes passed down by African-American children, adults and musicians from the early 19th century to the jazz era.

Interspersed with percussive playground rhymes, the tracks, from “Coming Around the Mountain” to “Sister Kate” to “When the Saints Go Marching In” to the lesser-known “Head and Shoulders, Baby,” were largely carried along by little girls on playgrounds and are still sassy and worthy.

There is lots of soul, heart and strength in these 14 jazzy tunes, and Ash’s clear, invigorating voice carries them along with tons of fun and conviction.

Ash and her talented band, the Leaping Lizards, will tour with Swing Set, from Washington, D.C., to New York City to Los Angeles. Videos will follow on the Jazzy Ash website.

Born in the Deep Woods

By Red Yarn; Red Yarn Productions

The folksy, bluesy Andy Furgeson, aka Red Yarn, aims to reinvigorate folk music for a younger generation and has so far done so swimmingly with this final in his Deep Woods trilogy of albums, Born in the Deep Woods.

With six original songs and six traditional, Furgeson sings his heart out, and his harmonies with his wife, Jessie Eller-Isaacs, are lilting and lovely.
Red Yarn’s family band is soulful and genuine and refreshingly original, a true “​kindie” star. Songs include “Birdies’ Ball,” “Rabbit in a Log” and “​Crawdad.”

This album is perfect for camping or outdoor fun.

Junie B. Jones: The Musical

From Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler; Next Decade Entertainment

The Junie B. Jones book series is one of the most popular, coveted for early readers. Irrepressible, quirky and mischievous is Junie B. Jones’ personality. And her tales translate perfectly to music.

Based on the hit musical of the same name, the cast album, Junie B. Jones: The Musical, was recorded under the direction of Grammy Award-winning producer Dan Rudin. High-class cast singing tunes include “When Life Gives You Lemons,” “Lucille, Camille, Chenille” and the opening number based on the book, Top Secret Personal Beeswax.

Junie B. Jones: The Musical is a hoot that serves as a fun musical journey for any young fan of the books or an introduction to Barbara Park’s series.


Other super cool new kids CDs include Ear Snacks: Songs From the Podcast by Andrew & Polly, which explains what a podcast is and includes truly fun songs like “Thank You for the Box,” “​Ballphabet” and “Why Is Fruit Fruit?”

Novelties from Recess Monkey is a good silly summer collection of ditties with songs like “Time to Make the Donuts,” “Sweaty Yeti,” “​Lovestruck Unicorn” and “Smitten for Kitten.” Quirky and fun? You bet!

And, lastly, the 11 songs by Keith Munslow and Bridget Brewer called Big Buncha Buddies is a friendship ode extraordinaire.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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