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Alphabet Jam Review by Jennifer Harrison

Cathy Bollinger
Rivanna Music
PO Box 6541
Charlottesville VA 22906
800-765-0195
http://www.rivannamusic.com/

 Alphabet Jam is a fun way to familiarize children with the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. It is a 36-track cd featuring adults and children singing together with various instruments, introducing each letter of the alphabet with simple but impressive songs. Not only are the letters introduced, but the sounds they make are delightfully taught with songs such as "Ozzie the Optimistic Ostrich" and "David's Dancing Dog."

The cd also comes with a valuable resource guide. This 57-page book has a page for each letter's theme song that includes the lyrics, a picture, and space for children to draw a picture. A second page for each letter offers actions and activities to go with the songs. In addition to a song for each letter of the alphabet, there is a little introductory tune for each vowel. The cd also features a special vowel song. This clever song tells of the members of the vowel family, who are not feeling well. (Letter A has a cold and says "A-choo." Letter E has an earache and says "Eh? What did you say?" etc.) Another special song tells about the letter Y and the sounds it makes at both the beginning and the ending of words.

With so many songs, you would expect them to all start sounding the same after a while. But instead, each song has its own flair, and my girls are happy to actively listen to the entire cd in one sitting. This is impressive, considering it is almost an hour long. When I asked them to describe the cd in their own words, they called it "fun" and "funny." The songs are clever and fun to listen to, and the sound quality is excellent.

Some parents might want to know that the song for the letter "V" is about a vampire. However, the vampire is a little girl who needs to eat more vegetables to make her voice grow stronger. There is nothing remotely dark mentioned anywhere in the song or book. I am generally very careful about these things, and my girls are very sensitive to anything hinting at being scary. However, they didn't bat an eyelash at this song, and I was completely comfortable with it.

This CD would be a fun addition to preschool and kindergarten studies. You could use one track at a time as letters are introduced over many weeks.

My family loves music. It's an important part of our lives every day. And yet, I'm very leery about purchasing children's music for the simple reason that I know I will be listening to it over and over again. There are some songs you just don't want stuck in your head, popping up at odd moments and refusing to leave. I am happy to report that one of my favorite features of Alphabet Jam is that the songs are catchy without being head-stickers. This is an amazing feature, in my opinion, and I truly appreciate it. Samples are available to listen to on the company website at http://www.rivannamusic.com/info/album/alphabetjam/

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2010

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