What a Zoo!

 
(i)

 

Indie rock with a spotlight on animals; great for families.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids -- and parents -- will definitely learn a thing or two about animals.

Positive messages

Positive, educational songs about all kinds of animals, from manatees to butterflies, and the importance of taking care of them.

Positive role models

Song "Tofurky" is about trying something new, even if you're afraid, and -- in this case -- saving a turkey in the process.

Violence & scariness

Talks about swatting mosquitos, or having a "good ol' fashioned smackdown." Also, lyric "someone hit a possum."

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Very mild: "Mosquitos...are such a pain in the rear" and "doesn't have a turkey tushy."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this album is animal education and fun from start to finish. There's nothing to worry about here except how much your kids are going to want to listen to the songs. Kids might giggle when they hear that mosquitos are a "pain in the rear" or that turkeys don't have "tushies," but that's the worst of it. "Tofurky" may raise some questions about vegetarianism.

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What's the story?

Indie rock and NYC-based musicians Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights take their music to the jungle, the ocean, the zoo, and even Carnegie Hall on WHAT A ZOO! From saving the sea cows and whales to learning about the metamorphosis of a butterfly, this upbeat album covers everything related to animals. Preschoolers and parents will get a little dose of Ecology 101 while happily singing along to fourteen catchy, family-friendly songs about furry friends, many-legged critters, pesky bugs, and farm animals.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Joanie Leeds isn't new to the music scene, but found a real niche in children's music with her first album City Kid, and again with I'm a Rock Star. What a Zoo! lets Leeds let loose her animal tendencies, as well as her soulful voice, singing about what seems like every animal, from mosquitos to whales, but with purpose that goes beyond quacking like a duck. Kids will discover manatees in "Sea Cow," the mystery of "Tofurky," and a caterpillar's destiny in "My Butterfly." Leeds's vocals are warm and expressive (think Colbie Caillat or Sara Bareilles), but fit for Broadway, and her indie rock that samples light punk, blues, folk-rock, country, and a tiny bit of rap will keep all your little ducks in a row (at least while listening to this album).  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be a vegetarian or to "eat organic." Why do you think it's so important to some people to choose to eat this way?

  • What does it mean when an animal is an endangered species? The song "Sea Cow" is about saving manatees. Can you name other animals that might need "help" in the same way? What are some ways that we can help endangered species?

Music details

Artist:Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
Release date:April 12, 2011
Type:Album
Label:Joanie Leeds
Genre:Children's Music
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of What a Zoo! was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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