Artist(s): Stephan Michael Schwartz
Genre: Children's Music
Label: S-Team Productions
Release Date: 06/19/2012
Edited Version Available: Yes
Parental Advisory: No
Other Choices: In Tents, Nature Jams, All on a Sunday Afternoon
Common Sense Says: Broadway-style songs for kids encourage creativity and fun.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Songs From the Sandbox features Broadway-caliber tunes with intricate melodies that weave in colorful storytelling for little listeners. Schwartz is a familiar voice to preschoolers with his musical contributions to the PBS animated show Jay Jay the Jet Plane, and this album offers great lessons and ignites the imagination.
- Families can talk about what makes up a good story. Is it the plot, the characters, or something else? What are some of your favorite stories?
- Do you like when one of your favorite stories is turned into a movie or a TV show? Which version is better -- page or screen?
- This album uses lots of different instruments to tell the stories. What instruments do you hear? How do they help the story along?
What's the story?
Stephen Michael Schwartz is no stranger to the children's music scene: He's a member of the children's music group Parachute Express and a major music contributor to the PBS show Jay Jay the Jet Plane (he sings the title song, among others). Surprisingly, SONGS FROM THE SANDBOX is his first album. It features 12 tracks that tell wonderful stories about a misunderstood puppy, an ambitious kitty, and a dog that likes to deliver mail, just to name a few.
Is it any good?
Songs From the Sandbox stands apart from other children's albums. Schwartz's warm vocals and intricate musical patterns sound as if they could be from a Broadway musical for kids; the quality is exceptional. His stories and music combine to tell funny anecdotes that will interest kids, from one about the world's worst dog to one about a tightrope-strutting feline. "Dinosaur Hunt" explores big and baby dinos, and the jazzy "Alligator Pie" is an ode to scaly bread, cake, and pie. This album is a perfect soundtrack for playtime.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Broadway-caliber music encourages imagination, storytelling, and finding something special in every moment or every person.
Educational Value: Mini-lessons about dinosaurs, Scottish folk music, and the art of storytelling.
Role Models: "Mind of His Own" celebrates individuality and says that it's OK to think for yourself, even if it means calling lollipops "licky sticks."
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: Not an issue
Sexy stuff: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue