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Catering to pre-schoolers

Michael & Jello: It Must be Jelly, ‘Cause Jam Don’t Shake — For really little kids, during the drop-in centre years, the usual ‘‘Row Row Row Your Boat’’ circle-time tunes are fine. But what about older preschoolers? Michael Anderson understands these kids and what they can get out of music. He gives them some basics like ‘‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’’ and ‘‘5 Green and Speckled Frogs’’, but mixes them up with more unusual fare like Cat Steven’s ‘‘Moonshadow’’ and the chant ‘‘Che Che Koolay’’. But it’s really in his approach that Anderson makes this stuff interesting: although keeps the overall mood of the CD gentle and lilting, the instrumentation and performances of these songs are more sophisticated. From the light reggae approach to ‘‘Corner Grocery Store’’ to the full band plus sax livening up ‘‘Over the River and Through the Woods’’, kids have something to really listen to. And do: the liner notes include instructions for the ‘‘activity’’ songs. Anderson is an early childhood education veteran and frequently plays day cares around Toronto. My four-year-old son loved this CD because he’s seen Anderson play many times. He declared the pared-down acoustic version of ‘‘I Have A Little Pony’’ on this disk ‘‘my new special song’’.