Are you a fan of a particular genre of music and are trying to get your kids into it? For me it’s music from the Jazz Swing era. I play lot of CD’s at home but it’s more as a background as my kids, especially my 7-year-old daughter, prefer music that’s popular on the radio. The Secret Mountain is a company that has a range of book & CD combos of lots of different types of music, such as African lullabies, French Creole songs, and classical masterpieces. I received Swing Cafe for review, which is a book and CD album with songs from the Jazz Swing era and played it for my kids. Here’s what we thought:
The story of Swing Cafe, written by Carl Norac and elegantly illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer, is about a Brazilian cricket named Zaz who dreams of singing in New York. She ends up in Manhattan and with the help of a fly named Buster manages to get into a place called Swing Cafe to ultimately give the performance of a lifetime! The story culminates with an Ella Fitzgerald song from her early years, Sing Me a Swing Song.
The narrators are actor David Francis, who’s amazing with the different characters he portrays in the story and Grammy-nominated singer Bebel Gilberto (daughter of the legendary Joao Gilberto, also known as “the father of bossa nova”). Her adorable Brazilian accent and the uplifting story is a winning combination that appeals across the board. The story is peppered with terrific songs throughout that tie in nicely with the story. It begins with a song by Carmen Miranda and moves to other hits by jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. As a bonus, eight of the tracks are also played again at the end of the story, for those who wish to enjoy the music in full.
My kids and I listened to the story and music and I was very pleased to see them pay attention to the story and hear the songs – not as background to something else they’re doing, but as the main event. It was great to have a way to get my kids actually sitting down and listening to music that is a part of my life.
I was not compensated for this post. I received a sample.