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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that these 16 "mini-operetta" songs from the adorable Nick Jr. show are aimed at the preschool set. Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck, and Ming-Ming Duckling visit Switzerland, Mexico, England, the South Pole, and Ancient Egypt, encouraging teamwork as they rescue other animals. There are plenty of positive messages throughout the CD (doing things on your own, change can be good, putting garbage in a trash can, taking care of a tree by watering it and keeping it company by planting other things around it), and kids will love the happy tone of the songs. Parents should also know that the actress who plays Ming-Ming affects a slight speech impediment (substituting "w" for "r") that's a little grating and might be bothersome if their kid is dealing with speech issues.
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What's the story?
WONDER PETS! encourages an exploration of many musical styles, builds vocabulary, and speaks to the imagination of preschoolers. Through their globe-trotting adventures saving the day, Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck, and Ming-Ming Duckling also stress mutual cooperation: "What's gonna work? Teamwork!" is their rallying cry. The sophisticated music on the show's soundtrack not only offers an operatic style, but also brings us a catchy calypso song ("To Be Free"), a Gilbert and Sullivan like offering ("Hug a Hedgy"), a Gershwin-style romp (the engaging title of "Wee Wee, Pee Pee, Tinkle"), and even a rap song ("City Garden Rap").
Is it any good?
Penned by some impressive talent -- Larry Hochman (Spamalot), Bobby Lopez (Avenue Q), and Robert Brown (Parade) -- each song on Wonder Pets! is a "mini-operetta" complete with a live orchestra playing an original score. Each sweet mini-story is just the right length to keep a preschooler's attention -- and kids will have a blast dancing and singing along.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the countries mentioned in the CD to learn more about them. What does the Sphinx look like? How cold does it get in the South Pole? What language do people speak in Mexico? Parents can also try singing to kids: "Go to bed!" or "Take a bath!" sound silly and funny when sung -- and kids might actually listen! This CD can be a starting point for introducing classical music to kids. They can listen to other music aimed at kids: Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, for example.