Under a Shady Tree

Music review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
Under a Shady Tree Music Poster Image
Fun songs with wordplay and repeating melodies.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's rhyme, rhythm, and simple melodies in these lighthearted original songs that will entertain young children but may not stand up to repeated listening by adults.

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Adult Written bydgg207 April 9, 2008
Adult Written byndp April 9, 2008

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What's the story?

Laurie Berkner's UNDER A SHADY TREE is a fifty-minute CD with twenty songs of in-the-moment entertainment for young children. Brian Mueller, Susie Lampert, and others back her up in full productions with some variety. The guitar, bass, piano, horns, and percussion occasionally give way to something a bit different, such as a cappella with sound effects in the catchy \"Drive My Car\" or ukulele in \"Mahalo.\" Other than \"Shortnin' Bread,\" all the songs on the album are written by Berkner.

Is it any good?

Berkner's pleasant voice is easy on the ears, and her songs often seem as if she'd composed them on the spot. In her liner notes she mentions how effortlessly songs emerge from an overheard phrase or an observation while walking in her neighborhood. Often she goes too quickly to easy rhymes and familiar themes, and in doing so plays down to kids' intelligence, as in "I'm me and you're you...it doesn't matter what we do." But the content is simple and age appropriate: sense of self; animals--a chimp, elephant, dancing dragon; and nature--flowers, sun, rain.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about writing song lyrics, and come up with some of their own ideas, stories, and verses for songs.

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