Don’t you just love when something both free & fun arrives in your inbox? Last week I was pleasantly surprised to see such a surprise in my own inbox and it made the perfect bonus content for this month’s review—read on to learn more!
But first, I’d like to introduce you to Dan Zanes. You may already know him as a very popular and successful children’s music artist, but he’s one our family had not tried out until recently. On one of our last trips to the library Dan Zanes & Friends – All Around the Kitchen! Crazy Videos & Concert Songs! was out for display with a cover that just said fun. Knowing that Mr. Zanes was someone we wanted to try out we decided to give this DVD a whirl.
We don’t watch a lot of TV in our house so my three-year-old was ecstatic about having a new “movie.” At the same time I was ecstatic about being able to try out a new children’s music artist and put my swollen, pregnant feet up on the couch for 30 minutes. We were both pleasantly surprised by our choice to give this band a try.
The entire running time of the DVD is 50 minutes, and it’s broken into two sections: one is live concert footage and the second is a collection of videos; we broke up our viewing time this way and spread it over a couple of afternoons.
As a mom I was excited to expose my child to the live concert footage. The live action lends its self to viewer participation with dancing and/or instruments. It was a bit of a lazy afternoon in our house, so I can’t say we were dancing around on the day we tried this out but my son did want to get up and do the Hokey Pokey along with the kids in the crowd.
The concert footage is, however, simple and aside from hearing the music and seeing a crowd of other people enjoying it, there isn’t much more to grab your attention. So, if your child needs something with more flash and excitement this may not be the video for you. However, I liked the educational value of exposing my son to real people in a real life situation and he seemed to enjoy it as a new format for listening to music.
As for the videos, I think I may have liked them better only because I leaned toward liking the songs better. The video portion, made up of six songs, is a combination of both live action (what you might consider traditional videos) and animated videos. Both worked for us, the animation was cute and not scary in any way and the live action simply gave us another opportunity to see this band perform.
Photo by Dan Zanes
More Dan Zanes
Overall, I enjoyed Dan Zanes and his Grammy Award winning music. He performs a combination of songs you’ll know like the previously mentioned Hokey Pokey as well as some you may not have heard before but can appreciate just the same. I’m particularly excited about his newest release of 76 Trombones where he performs Broadway songs with friends from the Broadway shows. Samples of this CD and others, including videos and biographical information about Dan are available on his official website.
More for Little Ears
Now for the surprise! I learned about this new release through an e-mail that introduced me to the Nodcast Podcast. The Land of Nod (a children’s store by Crate and Barrel) recently announced in one of their promotional e-mails a new “nodcast” by Dan Zanes. This came out the same week we tried the DVD so I knew it was a meaningfully terrific coincidence.
Not only will you find out more about 76 Trombones, you can also check out the nodcast archive which has a great selection of children’s music artists like Justin Roberts, Elizabeth Mitchell and Ella Jenkins as well as a story read a long by Amy Krouse Rosenthall.
You can listen directly from the Land of Nod or download and/or subscribe to this podcast via iTunes. This is a fun way to check out some new tunes or hear new arrangements by some of your favorites!
Do your kids enjoy live concerts? Do they have a favorite musician? Podcast?