Top Picks: The family cooking magazine Chop Chop, Dean Jones' new indie album for kids, and more

Singer/songwriter Roger Day performs a concert in the wetlands, 'My Lucky Elephant' follows a young Thai boy and his pachyderm best friend, and more top picks.

Roger Day's 'Marsh Mud Madness' album cover.
Courtesy of Putumayo Kids

Glorious mud

Summer is a natural time for children to refresh their love of nature. Roger Day has created a delightful journey through the mucky coastal lands of the South in his Marsh Mud Madness video. The singer/songwriter spent five days in 2009 exploring Sapelo Island, a barrier island south of Savannah, Ga. He weaves footage of himself – wearing boots and meandering through the gooey wetlands – with a concert performance in which he and his team of skilled and diverse musicians sing their way around the many scary critters of the swamp world. The science is sneakily good, the songs are fun, and the rhythms are downright infectious.

Elephant friendship

My Lucky Elephant is a full-length feature about a young Thai boy and his large pachyderm pal. The tale is set against a backdrop of concerns about the natural world that surround the pair as they wander through the countryside looking for shelter and food. Visit

Kids in the kitchen

Looking for fun projects to keep the kids occupied this summer? Head into the kitchen! Chop Chop, a 2013 James Beard award winner, is “the fun cooking magazine for families.” Available in both English and Spanish, the quarterly magazine offers nutritious, ethnically diverse, and inexpensive recipes, as well as interesting and little-known food facts, Q-and-As, and games. The magazine aims to get kids cooking real food at home with their families. Check it out online at

Songs about Earth

When the World Was New is the latest from Dean Jones, one of the leading lights of the “kindie” music movement. This new family music album has songs with titles such as “A Sparrow’s Soul,” “Human Bean,” and “Prehensile Grip” that describe what it means to live in harmony with all beings. The title song asks “What did the people do?” and answers, among other things, “They loved one another,” and of course, “They always had music.” It’s a twangy, bouncy, and sweet summer confection.

Intro to classical music

Listen to the Birds is a charming book about classical music that features birds. It combines lovely drawings and informative stories about the birds referenced in the musical selections on the accompanying CD, which has excerpts from  pieces such as Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending,” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

Latin lullabys

A little language refresher takes the form of this deft CD of Latin lullabies, Putumayo Kids Presents: Latin Dreamland. It’s full of soothing rhythms and catchy Spanish lyrics, so kids on vacation can test their language skills as they hum themselves to sleep. The CD has some classics such as “Cucurrucucú Paloma” and “Cielito Lindo,” as well as new songs to discover from all over Central and South America.

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