A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
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.