Friday, January 20, 2012

Music for Kids -- Music and Story by Bill Harley (CD and DVD Review)

Recorded live in Missoula, MT in front of a packed house, this collection of fan favorite songs ("You're in Trouble", "I Like to Sing", "Mom and the Radio") and beloved stories ("Mrs. Ammons and the Boys' Room", "The Teachers' Lounge" and "The Ballad of Dirty Joe") will make you feel as if you were there. A treat for young and old alike, Harley's sincerity, wit and wisdom is plain to see through the enthusiastic response and participation of the audience.

Click here to see samples of the videos!

Bill's trademark wit and wisdom shine in this collection of stories (and one song) that take listeners on a journey filled with teachers who would rather eat candy than read, a boy who walks to the moon, another who hides in a peanut, a bird who talks and a girl who realizes that home is best after all. "While these stories are fantasy" says Harley of this new recording, "I think what they say about the world is true - taking the time to be kind often leads to unexpected gifts."

My Thoughts:

I was recently introduced to the musical talent of Bill Harley through one of his CDs and a DVD of a live performance, Yes to Running.  Only recently becoming a mother, I have not been up-to-date on popular children's entertainers, so I was not familar with Bill Harley.  But, after watching his DVD and listening to his CD, The Best Candy in the Whole World and other Stories by Bill Harley, I am now a fan, as is my daughter, Savannah.  What sets Bill apart from other children's entertainers is that he uses song and story to paint a picture of growing up.  You don't have to be a child to enjoy Bill.  I found myself laughing and tapping along to his songs and stories.  He really does a wonderful job in letting children know that they can be themselves, and that even when you are faced with challenges, to perservere and stay true to yourself.  This is all done in a fun and entertaining way.  Families can listen to this CD, or watch Bill's DVD, and truly enjoy them together as a family.  Bill will have you engaged from start to finish.  And, parents will reminisce about their childhoods, thanks to Bill's songs and stories.  At times, I couldn't stop laughing.  Thanks, Bill for all that you do!  You truly are a gifted entertainer, and one that my family will be following from here on out.


Click here to visit Bill's online store, where you can buy his CDs, DVDs, books and more.

About Bill Harley:

A two-time Grammy award-winning artist, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the RI Council for the Humanities, Bill uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves. A prolific author and recording artist, Bill is also a regular commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered" and featured on PBS. He joined the National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence in 2001 and tours nationwide as an author, performing artist and keynote speaker.

Bill began singing and storytelling in 1975 while still in college.  His work has influenced a generation of children, parents, performing artists and educators. Bill's songs are joyous, direct and honest, his stories are filled with the details of daily life – all told and sung from his slightly off-center point of view.
"Humor is my weapon," says Harley of his award-winning recordings. A two-time Grammy winner, Bill's recordings have also garnered numerous other national awards including Parents' Choice, NAPPA (National Association of Parenting Publication Awards), ALA (American Library Association) and the highest honor from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio for his concert DVD, "Yes to Running!" filmed in conjunction with Montana PBS.

Bill's trademark wit and wisdom can also be found in his picture books and novels for children.  His first novel, The Amazing Flight of Darius Frobisher was chosen by Bank Street School of Education as one of the best children's books of the year and his second novel, Night of the Spadefoot Toads was awarded the Green Earth Book Award as best environmental book of the year in the children's fiction category.  His picture books, based on his songs, stories and poems also stand out as 'pick of the list' from ABA and a Storytelling Award Winner.  An advocate for children and educators, Bill is currently at work on a book about the culture of schools.

Touring nationally in theaters, schools, libraries, festivals and conferences, as a workshop leader, keynote and inspirational speaker, Bill's work affirms our commonality and reminds us to laugh out loud.  In the car, the classroom, at home or on stage, "no one beats Harley for intelligent, polished children's entertainment – he's simply the best."  Mothering Magazine

Disclosure:  I was sent samples in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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