Family Tree

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Family Tree Music Poster Image
Simple songs delivered with folksy charm.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Solidly positive messages about family, friendship, and self-esteem.

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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that very young kids will enjoy Frances England's gentle songs about family life, animals, and friendship, but older siblings and parents may find one or two listens to be plenty.

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What's the story?

Frances England, independent children's recording artist and sole winner of the 2007 Oppenheim Platinum Music Award, is back with her second collection of folksy, friendly songs for kids. FAMILY TREE will appeal to young kids who are fond of animals, and/or those who are figuring out friendships and family relationships. The title song lovingly describes a family's new baby from a kid's point of view.

Is it any good?

Musicianship on this CD is inconsistent -- sometimes excellent, sometimes amateurish. In general, the songs that stick to very simple, acoustic arrangements work the best; a rhythm section hangs in gamely, but with none of the finesse needed to support England's vocals. One highlight, "Don't Fly Away," features simple finger-picked banjo, a bit of irresistible whistling, and a lilting melody well-suited to England's thin, expressive voice -- plus, it's about bugs! The weakest track by far is "Fast Train to Grandma's," a rambling ditty backed by monotonous rhythm-guitar strumming that shows neither singer nor guitarist off to best advantage.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the song "Family Tree," about a new baby joining the family. This can be a complicated time for older brothers and sisters. How did/would you feel about a new baby? Can you write your own song about your feelings?

Music details

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