Chocolalala

Music review by
Kim Alessi, Common Sense Media
Chocolalala Music Poster Image
Vibrant Spanish/English songs for everyone -- fantastico!

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Educational Value

This album teaches Spanish vocabulary (with songs dedicated to colors, numbers, and objects in nature) as well as grammatical structures common to Romance languages (such as masculine and feminine nouns, pluralizing definite and indefinite articles, and the possessive pronoun). Several songs are written in traditional and authentic Latin American musical styles.

Positive Messages

"Ahorita" (Right Now)" is a message urging people of the world to help one another for the greater good: "Estamos acqui en este mundo / Tenemos una oportunidad / Ayuda el uno y al otro/Senores, senoritas, les digo ahorita." "Bailamos (Let's Dance)" celebrates the joy of dance and cleverly references a list of Spanish-speaking nations and cities.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Songs are playful and encourage Spanish language skills. From "Colores:" Blue azul, Rojo red / So many colors inside my head / Rosa pink, Verde green / So many colors it’s like a dream." Nothing but chocolate will do in "Chocolalala:" "Juevos y frijoles y chocolate / Gatos y perros y chocolate / No quiero salsa ni aquacate … dame dame dame chocolate." (Eggs and beans and chocolate / Cats and dogs and chocolate /I don't want salsa or avocado … give me give me give me chocolate.)"

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chocolalala is a fantastic collection of original bilingual songs that span a variety of musical styles, including bossa nova, ska, funk, rap, folk, and pop. The songs are sung in Spanish and English, and are catchy, well-crafted, and rife for learning Spanish words for colors, nature, numbers, and the joys of eating chocolate. These playful songs are a wonderful and authentic celebration of expressive Latin culture.

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What's the story?

Mister G is Ben Gundersheimer, a former indie rocker (and the first ever songwriting scholarship recipient at Berklee College of Music), elementary school teacher, and world traveler. CHOCOLALALA is his third album and earned the 2012 Parents' Choice Gold Medal. Singers on this album include Mister G's former elementary school students. Lyrics are available on his website, although without complete English translations. Mister G entered the family music scene in 2010 with his debut CD, Pizza for Breakfast. His second release, Bugs, includes several original Spanish/English songs and was awarded a Parents' Choice Recommendation. Mister G performs public concerts and conducts educational workshops for children and teachers throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America.

Is it any good?

Simply put, Chocolalala is fantastico! This album is superbly crafted, and every song is a joy to listen to, over and over. It's also a wonderful invitation to Spanish language and expressive culture for listeners of every age. Mister G and his band of top-notch musicians strike the best balance in a bilingual album for kids -- songs that are all at once entertaining, educational, authentic, and fun. After all, who doesn't like chocolate?  Standout tracks are many and include "Colores," "Ahorita," "Mono En Mis Manos," "Chocolalala," "Bailamos," "Naturaleza," " Uno, Dos, Tres," " Senorita Mariposa," and "Suenos."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how people around the world speak different languages. Where can we hear Spanish in our own town, in neighboring cities, or other places? What are some Spanish words that are mainstream in the United States? 

  • What other ways (besides through music) can you become familiar with Latin American cultures -- through dance, food, folk art, attire? Try salsa dancing, making las paletas (traditional Latin-American popsicles), Mexican string art, or Venezuelan braided belts.

  • Take out a globe or world map and look for as many Spanish-speaking countries as you can find (most will be in South and Central America and the Caribbean). 

Music details

For kids who love preschool tunes

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