"Really Rosie," Carole King. Sony Wonder, Epic and Legacy Recordings. CD: $12; cassette: $6. http://www.sonywonder.com.
One of the all-time great children's albums--with huge adult appeal, too--Carole King's 1975 pop album, based on Maurice Sendak's book "Really Rosie Starring the Nutshell Kids," is available on CD for the first time.
Originally released on producer Lou Adler's Ode Records label, the newly remastered album, sung by King, is about 10-year-old Rosie, who's "a great big deal" and reigns supreme in her Brooklyn neighborhood. It's about Pierre, the "I Don't Care" kid whose encounter with a lion leads to a change of heart; and Johnny, star of the quirky counting song, "One Was Johnny," who lived peacefully by himself "and liked it like that." It's a celebration of "Chicken Soup With Rice," and an alphabetic "Alligators All Around." Rosie modestly gives credit to "My Simple, Humble Neighborhood" for making her great, and she yearns to be Mrs. Dracula in "The Awful Truth."
Both King and Sendak are at their best. What a joy to have this treasure available again to kids, and to grown-up kids, too.
"Lead Belly Sings for Children," Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. CD: $14; cassette: $8.50. (800) 410-9815. http://www.si.edu/folkways. All ages.
Folk music legend Lead Belly had hard times, including prison, but there's nothing but warmth in this memorable collection of musical history. Among the play songs and child-friendly work songs and blues songs are "Skip to My Lou," "Blue-Tailed Fly," "Good Morning Blues," "Rock Island Line" and the "Pig Latin Song." Lead Belly is heard, too, in his colorful, down-home introductions and commentary spoken to a child audience. The collection features all of his 1960 "Negro Folk Songs for Young People" album, selections from his 1941 "Play Parties in Song and Dance" and tracks from the "Lead Belly Legacy" series recorded between 1941 and 1948.
"Expedition, the Ultimate Safari." Goldhil Home Media/PowerSports Millennium International. 55 minutes. $20. (800) 250-8760.
Not a documentary, but a feast of sight and sound, this mix of nature footage (produced and directed by Pavlina Solo) and original ambient world music written and performed by Elia Cmiral pulls viewers into a world that seems far removed from human existence.
The images include a blue dragonfly against a green leaf, neck-butting giraffes, purposeful hyenas, solitary apes and social baboons, dust-caked rhinos drowsing in the sun--creatures with as much claim to the world as we have, living their lives. The varied rhythms and changing moods in Cmiral's multicultural music enhance a feeling of timelessness and rightness to what the observer sees. It's mesmerizing.