Following a Dream: The Musical Fable of the Wright Brothers. Building Block Records. Cassette: $10 (plus $3 shipping and handling). Grades 3 through 8. (818) 787-8500; http://www.buildingblockworld.com. Children's recording artist Mark Beckwith and Mark Towner, host of KABC-TV Channel 7's "Kids View," have teamed up to create an unusually entertaining, educational musical about aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. On Side A, clever dialogue and lyrics, plus tuneful melodies, convey a sense of challenge and inspiration as the tale unfolds from the brothers' bicycle shop beginnings to their historic airborne success. A sing-along song sheet is available for the all-instrumental Side B. (A full production package with script, director's manual, tape and performance license can be ordered by schools and nonprofit organizations for $39.95.)
Songs You Can't Get Out of Your Head. Erock for Kids. Varese Sarabande. CD: $11.98. Cassette: $6.98. (800) VARESE-4. A collection of feel-good, do-good songs notable not for lyric or instrumental originality, but for lead singer Erock's good-natured energy. With a pop/rock-style delivery, he dispenses musical wisdom about sharing a "Li'l Something," veggie values ("The Ice Cream Song") and "Friends." A little too brassy at times, but the mood is upbeat and warm. A few songs, however, do suffer from a pedantic weightiness, particularly, "Look Both Ways" and "Don't Talk to Strangers."
Changing Channels. Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Rounder Kids. CD: $15. Cassette: $9.50. (800) 443-4727. From two of children's music's most respected artists, comes this lively collection of songs that encourage kids to develop communication skills and media savvy. With swing and folk rhythms and positive lyrics, the songs range from a search for role models ("Ballet Driving Truck Driver") to "50 Things That I Can Do Instead of Watch TV." Humorist Bill Harley's "The TV Way," is a nice addition, encouraging kids to see that the way things happen in their TV programs.
Hola Amigos, Vol 1. Monterey Home Video. 55 minutes. $19.98 (three-volume set: $54.98). Ages 4-9. (800) 934-4336. The look is low-tech in this two-lesson Spanish-language video--simple, coloring book-type pictures, limited animation--but it scores high marks for its clarity and easy-to-follow, build-on presentation. Each of the two lessons here teaches words and phrases through the adventures of Pablo, his friends and his little dog, Paco, with comfortable pacing, ample repetition, songs and review.