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Zanes CD Transforms Show Tunes

Dan Zanes and Friends’ 76 Trombones is an outstanding synthesis of several musical styles. This CD defies pigeonholing as “show tunes.” It’s a collection of family-friendly versions of Broadway classics such as “I Can Do That” from A Chorus Line, where the “now married and fat” sister becomes “now married with a cat.”

“I Am What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles is a folkie anthem about respecting differences. Without the context of their Broadway origins, the songs stand on their own. Broadway veterans sweeten the sounds. You’ll love Carol Channing’s “Hello Dolly” duet with Zanes. Brian Stokes Mitchell’s joyful “I Like Ev’rybody” comes from Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella. Matthew Broderick joins Zanes on a Dylan-esque country version of “Before the Parade Passes By.”

76 Trombones is an album for the Broadway fan in the family as well as kids ready to discover these treasures for the first time. www.danzanes.com

Interactive Energy for Preschoolers

Parents with preschoolers at home need alternatives to TV to engage them until their siblings come home from school. Bari Koral and the Family Rock Band fill that need with Rock and Roll Garden. It’s an energetic, interactive transitional album for kids between toddlerhood and preschool.

“Boom Boom” is a delightful variation on “Simon Says” with easy instructions for basic moves. “Hey Ducky” affectionately updates the counting tale of Mother Duck and her babies. “Pop” contrasts the differences between friends with a zydeco-flavored rock beat. www.barikoral.com

Multicultural Teaching Tool

Louisiana rhythms are at the core of the re-issue of Terrance Simien’s 2003 Creole for Kidz and the History of Zydeco. This wonderful multicultural teaching tool enhances our understanding of this infectious American music and the history of the people who created it. It’s not a pretty story, as the first song, “Song of a Creole Slave” would indicate. But it’s a story that should be shared. www.terrancesimien.com

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.

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