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Lullaby Tapes Soothe Nerves at Bedtime

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bath time is over, story time is done, but that 5-year-old you’ve just tucked in still isn’t convinced it’s bedtime. Or perhaps that 10-year-old is still tossing and turning. To the rescue: three lullaby audiocassettes.

One of the most original isn’t music at all. “Imagine Yourself to Sleep, Guided Imagery & Nature Sounds for Kids, Vol. 2" is much more intriguing and attractive than the title may suggest.

Created by clinical psychologists Bett Sanders and Chuck Cummings, the tape first guides children, ages 4 to 10, through relaxation techniques--stretching, muscle tensing and calm breathing. It then uses sound effects and gentle narration to help children imagine they’re a powerful horse trotting in a field, running on the beach--"if anything is bothering you, let it slide off as you run"--walking on soft pine needles under a canopy of trees and finally, snug and drowsy back in the barn, listening to the crickets.

Or, a child can become a cat chasing a squirrel, reliving an ancestral memory of a life in the jungle, and cozily sitting indoors listening to the rain.

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The vividness of the mental pictures and the peaceful nature sounds--birds, horses’ hoofs and whinnies, meows, wind and rain--are just about irresistible.

Another cassette, “David Jack, Snuggle Up Cozy,” formerly released as “Don’t Wake Up the Baby,” is good-night music for young children with a special touch, in both lyrics and vocals, as Jack and jazz singer Coral Thuet trade off singing a delightful lullaby concert.

Jack’s mellow, slightly whimsical tones are just right for the sweet and lazy “Sleepies,” “Don’t Wake Up the Baby.”

Thuet’s lovely light soprano caresses story songs such as “The Beautiful Lady Who Lives in the Sky” and “All the Things We’ll Do Tomorrow.” (Jack and Susan Jack Cooper wrote the evocative songs.)

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There’s also “Lullabies for a New Age” by Jonathan Sprout, offering soft rock ‘n’ roll on Side 1, a synthesized mix of new age music and simple lyrics. If that doesn’t cause eyelids to droop, Side 2 will do the trick--it’s all soothing instrumentals, ending with a beautiful tune aptly called “Peace.”

“Imagine Yourself to Sleep, Vol. 2.” Audio Outings. Audio cassette: $9.98. Information: (800) 552-2144 and (800) 955-5991.

“David Jack, Snuggle Up Cozy.” Golden Music. Audio cassette. $8.98. Available in book, toy and record stores.

“Lullabies for a New Age.” Sprout Recordings. Audio cassette: $9.98; CD: $12.98. Available in some book and record stores, including the Children’s Book and Music Center in Santa Monica. Information: (215) 295-2726.

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