My two year old is a bit of a music afficionado. He likes Mozart over breakfast, Disney in the car and Sandra Boynton’s “Personal Penguin” at all other times. On a recent car ride from New Hampshire, we listened to “The Bare Necessities” for about half an hour, it starts to grate a little. When he was a baby the only thing that would put him to sleep was our local rock station, AC/DC was his favourite. I indulged myself by loading up an iPod with the entire Beatles collection, and had that playing all night for him, mostly so he couldn’t hear the fun happening in the rest of the house. We are always looking for new, fun music to get him singing and dancing. Recently, the songs that have been getting stuck in my head all day are from The Chickadees’ new album, The Froggy Hop. Led by Mary Karlzen and backed up by Anji Rodee, Carmen Nickerson and Rosie Dempree, The Chickadees are an environmentally aware children’s quartet. They offer up catchy tunes accompanied with environmentally sound ideas and lyrical scientific fact.
No matter where we are, the title track has my son hopping and wiggling as only a two year old can. When we ask him to do the froggy hop he bounces up and down. When we ask for the tadpole wiggle he does, what appears to be, a version of the chicken dance. In a mini, tuneful, biology lesson he is also subtly learning the life cycle of a frog. And he’s not the only one learning new things, as I find myself receiving a refresher course in basic biology. My husband and I were blown away by how many animals listed in the song “Hibernation”, we didn’t realize hibernated! It’s very humbling to learn alongside your two year old. It’s a lot of fun too. Especially when you hear new things that you always just assumed you knew. Each song offers some new information to digest, be it musical or as a William Shatner-esque narrative set to music.
Other tracks, such as “The Hiking Song”, encourage environmentally sound hobbies and practices: “always remember to tread light-ly, won’t you come on a hike with me.” Our family are avid hikers but have yet to hit the trail now that this song is in our repertoire, I am sure there won’t be any soft quiet walks in the woods now that we have a little boy who shrieks “Hiking life for me” at the top of his lungs.
The energy brought to the songs by each of the artists is contagious, even for parents, and it’s hard not to bop along with him. It’s one of the few CDs that carries on playing for a track or two after the daycare drop off, before we realize we’re still singing along. After listening for a few weeks I have yet to find the songs annoying – which I find unusual in an album designed for kids. I’m sure it will come, but for right now, all members of the Pinault family are quite happily doing the froggy hop.