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Come Dance with Us Review by Marisa Corless

The First Wave
Educational Activities, Inc.
PO Box 87
Baldwin, NY 11510

Come Dance with Us is a CD of music with a short narrative woven between the songs. The topics of the songs range from life on the farm to phonics and geography with a bit of frivolousness thrown in for fun.

This CD seems to be most appropriate for younger preschool-age children. The songs are very short and quickly jump from one topic to another. This CD would be a good tool for a preschooler that needs to be occupied while others or learning or maybe in a preschool co-op setting to help teach about emotions, the body parts, or geography.

I really wanted to like this CD. Judging from the title Come Dance with Us, I was hoping for a toe-tapping CD that would have me dancing with my kids. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In fact, none of the songs inspired me to want to move, and most were far too slow for dancing. There were two songs about the alphabet that I somewhat enjoyed. The one about the vowels illustrated the multiple sounds of the vowels well. My favorite song was the 31-second instrumental song called "Conga." It was the only one that was even close to being a dance-worthy song. Like many children's song artists, the female vocalist used a whiny singing voice in order to attempt to make the music appeal to young children. I found her voice to be rather grating, which was unfortunate because she had an otherwise nice tonal quality. Another thing I disliked about the CD was the attempt to force the music to be educational. I personally have a really hard time listening to music, watching videos, or reading books that try too hard to be educational. By forcing the educational aspect of the songs, the joy and artistry of music was lost. There was one song that tried so hard to be educational that it was reminiscent of the meandering creative efforts of a preschooler making up a song as he goes along.

My children didn't seem to have as strong a reaction to the CD as I had, although they weren't thrilled with it either. At first, my eight-year-old son strongly disliked the CD and said it should have been called Come Wail with Us because there are a few songs where the singer is wailing. During one song my three-year-old daughter said it sounded like a baby singing. My six-year-old daughter also was offended by the whiny sounds. When I asked my son to give his thoughts about the CD, he said that the songs seemed to be beneath his level; however, he later sneaked the CD to his room and listened to it. I guess he didn't dislike it entirely after all. Neither of my daughters has asked to listen to it again though.

While I didn't personally like this CD, there were some positives. The topics are relevant to young children, and the music presents new vocabulary. The word "emotions" is presented in a non-threatening and fun way. Overall, I found the CD to be disjointed, with a flimsy narration between songs in an attempt to make it cohesive. As much as I wanted to like this CD, I was grateful for it to be over and cannot recommend it.

Product review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2010