Music Review: Circle Time

Do not head into circle time unprepared! If you have not been shown the secret handshake, been told the secret knock, and just walk blindly into circle time, you are asking for complete humiliation in front of the toddler elite. Circle Time Songs and Rhymes for the Very Young [amazon.com] is your secret weapon.

Circle Time CD coverToddler owners are drawn like a magnet to play groups to socialize their short person with other short people. Formal play groups held by a Parks and Recreation Department, or other organization, end their sessions with “circle time.”

This is where you sit in a circle and go head-to-head in a singdown to see which parents know the most lyrics, which ones can fake their way through a song the best, and whose child can outdo all others in oscillating cachinnation [dictionary.com]. It’s like singing the National Anthem, but you can’t fake it like you do at the ball park.

The Circle Time CD consists of 30 toddler sing-along favorites such as Baa Baa Black Sheep, Little Red Caboose, Head And Shoulders, Little Teapot, Four Little Ducks and every mime’s favorite, Itsy Bitsy Spider.

All of the songs are sung by Lisa Monet. Who is she? She’s an adult, and that’s all you need to know. There’s something to be said for not listening to a chorus of off-key toddlers singing songs, like is done on many CDs, just because some parents somewhere with expendable income say, “Oh, isn’t that cute!”

Some people will disagree, thinking Monet’s voice doesn’t capture the excitement of circle time. I’ll admit that she performs ‘Do you know the Muffin Man?’ as a pensive love ballad. That’s a little odd. But for most of the tracks, you sing with your child and it all works.

If your parenting approach is to park your kid in front of the stereo and leave him to his own devices, then yes, this CD is not for you. Non-participatory parents should just buy the 101 Toddler Favorites CD [amazon.com]. It is filled with kids and adults singing together. The four CD set gives me a headache, but both of the choices outlined here are so inexpensive, you might consider buying each to test the waters.

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