Noteworthy: Reviews of new kids' music

Dan Zanes and Friends – Catch That Train! (CD, Festival Five): Dan Zanes has been hailed by parents who were looking for something a little more musically adventurous than "Raffi" to share with the shorter members of the family. But even those of us who enjoy a rousing chorus of "Baby Beluga" can appreciate the former "Del Fuego" frontman's skill and song choices. Lots of friends stop by to lend their voices to his newest disc, which is hip enough to be stocked by Starbucks. Natalie Merchant and Zanes do a lovely rendition of the Scottish ballad "Loch Lomond," but my favorite was Barbara Boursal and Zanes on the Spanish "Mariposa Olé." Frequent collaborator Father Goose makes several appearances before the train hits the final stop. One warning: Kids may wonder why their parents are singing along with such fervor to "I Don't Want Your Millions Mister," but hey, it's never too early to explain fair labor practices. Grade: A

The Laurie Berkner Band – We are ... The Laurie Berkner Band (Razor & Tie): Singer Laurie Berkner sure knows her audience. Neither my son nor my niece (both 4) were interested in helping me review the new DVD by the Noggin staple, but by the second song, "We Are the Dinosaurs," both were dancing and shrieking with joy. Then my beagle got into the act. The DVD is mostly favorites such as "Victor Vito" and "Bumblebee Buzz Buzz," with one new song, "Walk By the River." An accompanying CD offers five songs so you can take the show on the road. There's not a whole lot here for adults, except for the pleasure of watching your child have a really, really good time. Grade: B+

Various artists – Folk Playground (Putumayo): Sleepy fishermen, wooden puppets, and amorous amphibians are just some of the critters that come out to play on this excellent compilation disc, which has enough bounce to brighten even a trip to the dry cleaners. Standouts on this Putumayo compilation include Dan Zanes on the old folk tune "Hop Up Ladies," and Zoë Lewis's gloriously goofy ode to those "fluffy clouds with little black legs," "Sheep." Singer Michelle Shocked gives "Got No Strings" from "Pinocchio" a Texas swing, and The Laurie Berkner Band does a fine "Froggy Went a Courtin'." Grade: A

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