A Bug CD your kids will love!
Posted on October 12, 2012 by Rebecca Boogie Woogie Bugs by Johnette Downing
I was fortunate enough to attend a dinner party last month where I met a woman (and musician) who told me about this awesome bug-themed CD out there for kids. I was very excited to get it because I knew Zev would be over the moon about the news. So now here we are about a month later and I find myself grinning from ear to ear whenever I listen to Boogie Woogie Bugs. Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning musician, author and global educator. She has earned numerous awards, way too many for me to name here, but you can see that list along with a complete bio on her website at www.johnettedowning.com.
Downing has a gorgeous voice and the instrumented musicians are also fabulous. She makes use of all sorts of genres depending on what each song calls for, including blues, bluegrass, country, jazz and probably more that I am not even able to identify.
What impresses me most about the CD is that Downings’ songs actually teach kids about bugs. In the melodious “Mariposa” she introduces the children to a beautiful word in a new language (for those kids whose first language is not Spanish). In “Head, Thorax, Abdomen” she repeats the technical names of the bug’ body parts to ensure we remember them. Rhymes and songs are such great ways for kids (and adults, really) to memorize material in a fun way without making it seem like work. In “Twenty Bees” she counts backwards for a quick math lesson. The song “Arachnid” teaches the technical name for spiders. In “Bug Band” she sings about and names the bugs–katydids, cicadas and crickets that come out at night to play beautiful music for us.
The main reason my son Zev is so excited about Boogie Woogie Bugs is that he loves to laugh at silly things. And some of these songs are indeed very silly! Funny lyrics in general seem to be a big winner with kids. Some of the funny ones on this album include, “Bed Bugs”, “Cockroach”, “Ants in your Pants”, and “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs”. Here is a direct quote from Zev: “My favorite song is when the lady swallowed all the bugs! That one is so funny.”
Most of the songs on this album are her originals but she has spiced up a few traditional numbers that you will recognize such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed some Bugs”, “Five Little Butterflies” and “Skip to My Lou.” In these songs, she transforms original lyrics into fun and educational contemporary tunes.
Lastly, Downing subtly conveys the message that bugs deserve our admiration and respect. This even includes the bugs that aren’t cute, handsome or cuddly. I want my kids to learn to be empathic toward all living creatures, whether they are the adorable loveable ones or the scary ugly ones. It’s never too early to teach empathy. In her song “Cockroach” the melancholy cockroach sings the blues to describe her loneliness. She doesn’t have any friends she explains, because everyone is afraid of roaches. She sadly laments, “I’m a roach. A loveable, wanna be huggable cockroach.”
I’m not a kid, but for the record, my favorite song on the album is “Bug Band.” The melody is really catchy which makes it easy to sing right along with this song. I also think the lyrics are super creative. I have always loved listening to the sound of bugs chirping away or rubbing their wings together at night. There is something so comforting and peaceful about those sounds. Thanks to this song I feel like I can actually see a visual image in my mind of those bugs together playing in a backyard bug band together. What an original, creative idea!
If you are lucky enough to live (or be traveling) near any of these locations, you can see Johnette Downing live or for a book signing at these dates and places:
■October 12 at 11:00, Concert, New Orleans Jazz Park Visitors Center, New Orleans, LA
■October 12 at 12:00-1:00, Book Signing, Tisket A Tasket Book Shop, Decatur, New Orleans, LA
■October 19, Concert, Boo at the Zoo, New Orleans, LA
■October 20 at 11:00, Concert, Monster Mash, Covington, LA
■October 20 at 3:00, Guest Concert Appearance, Jr. Ranger CD Release Party, The Old US Mint, New Orleans, LA
■October 20, Concert, Boo at the Zoo, Cool Zoo Toddler Stage, Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA
■October 26, Concert, Boo at the Zoo, Cool Zoo Toddler Stage, Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA
■October 27, Author Presentation & Book Signing, Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, LA
■October 27, Concert, Boo at the Zoo, Cool Zoo Toddler Stage, Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA
■November 2 at 11:00, Concert, New Orleans Jazz Park Visitors Center, New Orleans, LA
■November 2 at 12:00-1:00, Book Signing, Tisket A Tasket Book Shop, Decatur, New Orleans, LA
■November 3-7, Workshop Tour, Conference, Guatemala City, Guatemala
■November 9, Author Presentation and Book Signing, Kids Day, Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY
■November 11 at 1:30 & 3:30, Concerts, Three Rivers Art Festival, Covington, LA
■November 18, Book Signing, Po’boy Festival, New Orleans, LA
■November 19-28, MA
This CD would make a fabulous gift for any child, especially for those who are bug lovers! And if they aren’t already, they will be after listening to this album! If you are interested in buying this CD, here it is on Amazon.com:
Boogie Woogie Bugs by Johnette Downing
For more information on this CD or any other music or books by Johnette Downing, please visit her website at www.johnettedowning.com.
This entry was posted in Movies and Music by Rebecca on Chester McBug, http://www.chestermcbug.com/