by Lynne Heffley
Veteran children’s artist Dan Crow–singer, storyteller, jokester, acoustic guitarist–is still going strong after more than three decades, and that’s amply clear in this delightful new album.
Crow, a former educator and speech therapist in Appalachian Virginia, is a master at wordplay, rhyme and rhythm, craftily fueling his silly-smart songs with unexpected vocabulary and playful lessons in grammar, and character-building, too. Nobody else could so deftly write a cautionary song about bullying using the words “hobbledehoy” and “churl”–and weaving in the definition of each (“Bully Girl and Bully Boy”). In Crow’s disarming take on the tooth fairy, the teeth do the talking (“Hello baby, I’m your baby tooth/my friends and I will join you in your early youth”).
With a cadre of accomplished musicians, Crow celebrates vowels in “Gravy and Potatoes” (an “Apples and Bananas” spin-off), issues an irresistible invitation to read (“Dig Deep Down”) and takes listeners on a tour around the world with an ode to his traveling companion (his guitar) in “The Ballad of Bob.” The final track, a moving tribute to “a very good dog” (“Greyfriar’s Bobby”), shifts gears with tender warmth. Crow may not have the high profile of some of the field’s stars, but with his skilled musicality and genuine, contagious exuberance, he belongs among the best–as his legion of fans around the globe would surely agree.
Lynne Heffley ©2014 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.