Little Nut Tree

Music review by
Jessica Dawson, Common Sense Media
Little Nut Tree Music Poster Image
Folk tunes encourage kids to enjoy life's simple pleasures.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

"The Farmer Is the One" tells kids where our food comes from (not just the grocery aisle) and encourages them to think about what they put in their tummies. "Thank You" is a sweet homage to all the beauty and nature around us.

Positive Messages

Songs encourage kids to embrace the simple things in life: Just singing, dancing, and rocking out in the basement can be fun.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Encourages kids to be grateful and aware of the beauty that surrounds them. Songs inspire little ones to use their imaginations.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that children's music master Dan Zanes is back to his roots, so to speak, with colorful folk music that encourages kids to imagine, dance, and be themselves. As always, Zanes (with friends like Joan Osborne, Sharon Jones, and Andrew Bird) gives kids a lesson in fuss-free, organic tunes with positive messages about having fun and loving life. There's a mention of God but nothing objectionable in any of the lyrics.

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What's the story?

Dan Zanes, rocker turned iconic children's musician, supposedly played the Jamaican classic "Little Nut Tree" for his daughter right after she was born, with its hopeful lyrics, "She was to be what God wanted her to be." Now many years later, he's taken that truth even further on his album LITTLE NUT TREE. With various friends including Joan Osborne, Father Goose, Donald Saaf, and the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Zanes sings about the simplicity and beauty in everyday life, from locally grown food to having fun in your basement.

Is it any good?

It's no surprise that Zanes continues to make great children's music, and he doesn't disappoint on the endearing grab bag of tunes on Little Nut Tree. Whether he sings about dancing in your basement ("where you won't get carded at the door") or gives homage to all the things around us in "Thank You" ("thank you when the lion runs and for the morning mist out on the golden plain"), his music and lyrics teach kids about the sweeter, simpler things in life without preaching or pretense. Little Nut Tree makes you appreciate family, life, and the everyday beauty we might sometimes forget in the rush.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the song "The Farmer Is the One." Do you understand where our food comes from? What does it mean when something is organic?

  • It can be hard to get kids away from the computer screen, the TV, or their handheld gaming systems; what message do you think Zanes is trying to share about everyday life and play? Do you really need all of those gadgets to have fun? How can you have fun and use your imagination without technology?

Music details

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