Holiday Gift Guide : Calendar’s little helpers offer suggestions in pop, jazz, holiday, family and classical music, plus videos, computer games and books. (Good news: They’re easy to wrap.) : CHILDREN! : Disney and More: Jingles All the Way
The best children’s music is family music, as this sampling of recent recordings shows:
* * * * “CLASSIC DISNEY, VOL. I & II, Walt Disney Records. A fan’s delight, this generous collection spans more than 60 years, from “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo” (1930) and “Mickey Mouse Club March” (1955) to contemporary blockbusters from “The Lion King.” Cassette, $10.98; CD, prices vary.
* * * “DOGGONE COUNTRY . . . ALL-TIME FAVORITE COUNTRY SONGS ABOUT DOGS,” CMH Records. A knee-slapping, toe-tapping country-bluegrass collection of such comic songs as the 1926 ditty “They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dawg Around,” by Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. Cassette, $8.98; CD, $11.98; (800) 373-8073.
* * * 1/2 LALO GUERRERO and LOS LOBOS, “Papa’s Dream,” Music for Little People/Warner Bros. The venerable Lalo Guerrero is the heart and Los Lobos is the heartbeat of this joyful, family-affirming, bilingual weaving of rock ‘n’ roll and Mexican folk songs with a tale about a “Woolly Bull” blimp trip. Cassette, $9.95; CD, $15.95; (800) 727-2233.
* * * * “HEIGH-HO! MOZART, FAVORITE DISNEY TUNES IN THE STYLE OF GREAT CLASSICAL COMPOSERS,” Delos. “Colors of the Wind,” Dvorak-style? A Villa-Lobos-inspired “I Wanna Be Like You”? This keeper, finely crafted by Al Lutz, is performed by the English Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and other superb musicians. Cassette, $9.98; CD, $14.98; (800) 364-0645.
* * * 1/2 ERIC MICHAEL GILLETT, “Sing a Rainbow,” Elba Records. Big-band, jazz and pop stylings in a gorgeous family album from the award-winning cabaret artist and circus ringmaster. Don’t miss his sassy, Vegas-style “Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” CD, $14.99; cassette, $9.99; (800) 955-ROSE.
* * * * ANNA MOO, “Anna Moo Crackers,” Moosic Productions. Lyric wit and poetry, Moo’s throaty, bluesy vocals, plus Cajun, trad-jazz and old-time rock ‘n’ roll rhythms--this irresistible family album is a class act all the way. Cassette, $9.98; CD, $13.98; (800) 226-8057.
* * * 1/2 THE MUSIC WORKSHOP FOR KIDS, “Family Playground,” Baby Boom Music. “Eat Over Your Plate” and “A to Z With Veggies” may sound excruciatingly earnest, but don’t be misled. This exuberant album matches sophisticated instrumentals and vocals with lyric dexterity and a well-developed funny bone. Cassette, $10.98; CD, $15.98. (612) 470-1667.
* * * 1/2 MAE ROBERTSON, DON JACKSON, “All Through the Night,” Lyric Partners (Silo Music). Among the many exquisite lullaby albums available, this one earns high marks for silky harmonies, beautiful string and keyboard accompaniment and well-chosen “heart” songs, such as “Isle au Haut Lullaby.” Cassette, $10; CD, $16. (800) 541-9904.
* * * 1/2 SOOZ, “Sooz: My Favorite First Songs,” Soozaroo Music. Clever, kid-pleasing songs about animals, hugs and play, delivered with an adult-pleasing funky urban beat by New Jersey singer Sooz, with her swinging sax and delightfully idiosyncratic vocals. Cassette, $9.98; CD, $14.98. (800) 443-4727.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (f a ir), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).