Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Holiday Guide: Gifts of Music part three

Today we conclude this eight-part series that began in early November, and provided introductions as well as best-buy pricing options on various entertainment categories.

In today's entry, we finish as we started - with music, as it is one of the most popular categories, and is  perfect for affordable holiday gift giving.

Below you will find a broad range of artists that focused their talents on bringing recordings to the marketplace for children..

These products have been researched for quality as well as value, and are geared to provide multiple age ranges with many hours of positive and fun-filled entertainment.

Best pricing options available at the time of this posting are provided below, but it is suggested that (when available) you cross-compare with your favorite online as well as stick and brick retailers.

You may wish to bookmark this page to enable further explorations of the highlighted links at your leisure, as there are numerous choices covering a variety of musical tastes.

In case you missed earlier installments of this series, links to those editions are provided at the end of this article.

As always, you are the best judge of what is appropriate for your child’s entertainment.

Justin Roberts: Jungle Gym

The New York Times referred to Justin Roberts as, "The Judy Blume of kiddie rock," and Time magazine declared him, "A brilliant crafter of power pop tunes.” Those accolades are the real deal on this 2011 Grammy nominated children’s album, Jungle Gym.

Roberts truly captures the essence of childhood with his meaningful lyrics, and finely crafted melodies, all wrapped in excellent production values.

Best pricing for the CD is through Amazon Marketplace for $8.69.

Sound samples for the entire album and MP3 download are available with best price through for $5.00, or $0.99 per individual track.

Sunny Day Elizabeth Mitchell

From Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the gentle voice of family-favorite, Elizabeth Mitchell, is joined by her husband Daniel Littleton, their daughter Storey, Dan Zanes, Jon Langford, drummer Levon Helm, and the Children of Agape Choir.

The songs are a pleasant compilation with some unique selections, which include roots in Celtic, reggae, Japanese and Korean music.

The addition of children’s voices encourages youngsters to sing along.

Best Price for Sunny Day CD is $7.64 through Amazon Marketplace where sound samples are available for all 19 tracks.

An MP3 download is also available direct through for $8.99 and includes 20 tracks.

Randy Kaplan’s The Kids Are All Id

The Kids Are All Id is a wonderful album that features American roots music, blues and seamless storytelling from Randy Kaplan, a master entertainer.

The album has won several honors since its release and includes prestigious nods from NAPPA as a Gold Award-winner, and voted a Top Five CD in the NICKELODEON Parents' Picks Awards.

Best pricing for The Kids Are All Id CD is through Amazon Marketplace for $8.29.

All 17 sound samples and a best-price MP3 album download are available through for $8.99, or individual tracks at $0.99 each.

What Are the Odds?

 New York City musician/educator Meredith LeVande is continuing in the previous vein of her highly successful first release, Monkey Monkey Music, and in this newest outing brings joyful songs geared perfectly for the youngest set age two to five.

This fun-loving preschool pop album is available in three formats: CD, MP3 download and in a newly released charming optional DVD or VHS video that recently received 2010 honors from NAPPA.

Sound samples for all 16 tracks are available with best pricing through for the entire MP3 album download at $8.99, or individual tracks at $0.99 each.

The complete CD can be purchased with best pricing through Amazon Marketplace for $9.98.

You can preview the video through Levande’s website where it is also available to purchase for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

Green Golly and Her Golden Flute by Flute Sweet and Tickletoon

Barbara Siesel and Keith Torgan are “Flute Sweet and Tickletoon,” and together they present a delightful mix of storytelling, comedy and classical music.

Based on the traditional fairytale, Rapunzel, this retelling now has the central character known as “Green Golly.”

The album introduces children ages five through 10 to some of the greatest composers in history and includes works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Chopin, Schubert, Bizet, Elgar, Gossec, and Copland

Best pricing for the CD is through Amazon Marketplace for $7.80.

Sound samples for the entire album and MP3 download are available at best price through for $8.99, or $0.99 per individual track.

Dream Jam Band: Leave it in the Soup

“Leave it in the Soup” featuring the Dream Jam Band is an energizing mix of rock, pop, hip-hop and blues with hints to Mozart, a bit of Beatles, and a nod to Arlo Guthrie and Duke Ellington.

Best pricing for the CD is through Amazon Marketplace for $6.34.

Sound samples for the entire 11 tracks album and MP3 download are available with best price through for $7.99, or $0.99 per individual track.

Time Out to Rock featuring The Not-Its!

Dubbed as Seattle’s "best-dressed" kid’s rockers, The Not-Its will leave no couch potatoes behind on this their second album release, “Time Out to Rock.”

Fun lyrics, with danceable music, equal a totally kid-rockin’ experience. The final tune, “Hollow Tree” will gently bring children back to home.

Amazon Marketplace has the CD at the best price of $7.98.

All 11 tracks are available to sound sample and download in MP3 format through with the best price of $8.99 for the entire album, or $0.99 per track.

Starfish: Enter Sandbox

For families that love to rock, this entry on the kid’s music scene provides plenty of entertainment for the whole family in this genre.

These New Jersey based children’s entertainers known as “Starfish,” are comprised of rock scene veterans who brings bring plenty of moxie to the table on their album, “Enter the Sandbox.”

Band members, StingRay (who covers lead vocals/ guitar) Grateful Dave (Dave Hartkern drums/vocals) along with Moose (better known as Marc Stern lead guitar ) plus Dr. Yes (Mark Asch keyboards and vocals) and Ant Farm (Antar Goodwin bass guitar) are not only seasoned pros, but fathers spreading the rock genre to the next generation.

Enter Sandbox is Starfish’s second album and shows recognizable influences of Cream, Deep Purple and Beatles.

Best price on Starfish’s newest CD is available from Amazon Marketplace for $2.50.

MP3 downloads and all sound samples are available direct from at $9.49 for the entire 12-track album, or $0.99 per track.

Earlier editions of the 2010 Gift Guide are available by clicking on the following links:

2010 Holiday Guide: Gifts of Music

2010 Holiday Guide: DVDs and videos

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Wizard of Oz theme oriented gifts

2010 Holiday Guide: Gifts of Music part two

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Hanukkah Gifts

2010 Holiday Guide: Best books of the year

2010 Holiday Guide: Story apps for e-readers, iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch

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