Children's CDs and DVDs in the Spotlight
Zipp, Yvonne, The Christian Science Monitor
Trout Fishing in America: 'Big Round World'
Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet have been recording together for more than three decades, and it shows in their effortless professionalism and careless whimsy. Not surprisingly, their 10th album, "Big Round World" (Trout Records, $15), was up for a Grammy this month for Best Album for Children. (It's their fourth nomination, but who's counting?) Topics cover everything from everyday kid matters, "My Favorite Jeans," to sage advice, "Always Chew Your Food," to American history, "Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks," and the style is almost as wide-ranging, hitting everything from bluegrass to jazz.
Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine: 'Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine'
If you can get past the cutesy name (and I nearly didn't), you'll discover that Mr. Bobbert is the alter ego of Robert Schneider of the indie band The Apples in Stereo. Fortunately, preschoolers don't have my prejudices and will happily bop along to the CD's infectious Beach Boys-style pop tunes. Highlights include "The Mighty Mighty Elephant," "We R Super Heroes," and the very funny "Fee Fi Fo, Fee Fi Fum," in which a thieving mouse runs into a sleepy homeowner searching for a midnight snack. The CD, put out by Little Monster Records ($15.98), includes comic-book illustrations and a coloring book, which weren't yet available for review. Odds are, the letter B will figure prominently.
The Simon Sisters: 'Sing Songs for Children'
Never before available on CD, this album features sisters Carly and Lucy Simon singing duets of poems by Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake, and more. (It was originally released in 1969 as "The Simon Sisters Sing the Lobster Quadrille and Other Songs for Children.") The content has less of the aggressive "whee" factor of some of today's releases for children, instead relying on close harmonies and the timeless words. It makes for a lovely change. "The Owl and the Pussycat" and "A Pavane for the Nursery" are among the standouts, while Grammy legend Carly has one solo: "A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns. …