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Article:    Children's Music: Must-Have Recordings

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We've compiled a list of recordings that we think every family should own.

coverFor the Kids features an outstanding collection of songs performed by such artists as Cake, Barenaked Ladies, and Sarah McLachlan. The creativity, range of emotions and styles, and overall quality of the album will please both adults and kids. Many of the songs are Sesame Street and Muppets covers, reworked in intriguing, touching, humorous, and creative ways. This recording belongs in every family's music library. See our full review.

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Raffi's Singable Songs for the Very Young is the must-have debut album of a children's music legend. Filled with simply silly songs, and tunes that are truly "singable" (the lyrics are easy to follow), this recording appeals to children even before they've reached their first birthday. Still, it totally "speaks" to preschoolers and children in early elementary. Wiloughby Wallaby Woo is a rhyming song that kids will want to personalize with their own names; I Wonder if I'm Growing is simple and sweet; Down By the Bay has the kind of silly lyrics that children love.

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If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to Ralph's World, you are, quite simply, missing out. This fabulous collection of songs for young children is one of the newer "must-have" children's recording. Every single song on the album is stellar. Our absolute favorite is Take a Little Nap (The Disco Song). The lyrics are humorous and clever, and the delivery and musical styles are rich. This recording's creativity will astound you, and the whole family will have lots of fun. Exceptional!

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A pick-me-up like no other, African Playground offers kids and their parents a musical trip around Africa. This recording is unique, ardent, and uplifting. Multilingual lyrics, empowering tunes, and a pleasing variety of styles combine to make African Playground a must-have recording. 

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Kenny Loggins' Return to Pooh Corner is a naptime/bedtime/quiet time recording that is both touching and soothing. Some of the most poignant lullabies that will move both children and their caregivers can be found on this exceptional album. This is a superb collection of gentle songs about love and dreams.

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Katherine Dines' Hunk-ta Bunk-ta Chants is rousing, multicultural, and totally fun. You can even call it educational with all of its wonderful wordplay. A lovely variety of styles are presented in this collection that will appeal to all ages. From the deliciously fun Mashed Potatoes to the catchy Bully in the Alley, this title's 37 tracks deliver an amazing variety of kid-friendly chants from around the world. Imagine the fun children will have singing along to a chant entitled Oh Africa, Eechee Yay Zu!

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Beethoven Lives Upstairs is part of the Classical Kids series. This exceptional children's recording tells a story about a fictional character -- a boy named Christoph -- whose mother rented a room to Beethoven. The recording is dominated by the story-telling, and features some of Beethoven's music to support the narration.

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Daddy-O Daddy! (Rare Family Songs of Woody Guthrie) American folk singer and guitarist Woody Guthrie is honored in this family recording that collects six previously unrecorded songs as well as Guthrie favorites, performed by the likes of Taj Mahal, Billy Bragg, Syd Straw, and more. Some of the songs on this recording were written for Guthrie's own children. Taj Mahal does Little Sack O Sugar--a standout song with lines like, "little sack of sugar I could eat you up" and, "Hee, hee, hee, my little sack of 'taters/So pretty, pretty, pretty, I could eat your toes". Dry Bed, performed by Billy Bragg & The Blokes, is a fun celebration of continence. Also included is a recitation of Howdy Little Newlycome by Woody himself. This is an exceptional, awe-inspiring, "must-own" family recording.

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A Child's Celebration of the World is a collection of songs from around the world, and about the world. Children learn to count in Spanish, French, Japanese, and Swahili; Raffi sings a lovely song about acceptance, Like Me and You; Joan Baez does Kumbaya; and more. This is the kind of music that parents will enjoy as much as their children.

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