by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
Do you have a passion you wish you could share with your kids? For me it’s music, in particular 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.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for thirteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 7, 5 and 1) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.