They Might Be Giants. Here Come the ABCs. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Records, Disney Sound, 2005. Audio DVD.
Audience: Ages 2-7, Grade PK-2
Summary: This is a DVD of songs about the alphabet, filled with puppetry, live action, and animation. The songs are short – most being less than 2 minutes long. The two members of TMBG, John Flansburgh and John Linnell provide the vocals along with help with some of their family members. While the majority of songs introduce letters and phonices, there also songs that tackle more advanced subjects like the difference between fake and real, conifer trees, and the difference between letters and other figures. The lyrics are clever, full of word play especially puns.
Strengths: The songs are very catchy, with many different musical genres represented. They are appealing to both children and adults, and the wordplay makes some songs appropriate for older children as well. Listening for all the subtleties would help parents and teachers deal with the repetition that younger children enjoy so much.
Weaknesses: Some songs are fairly educational, but not all of them are appropriate for the classroom. The focus is definitely more on the music than it is on the content.
Uses: Music is wonderful for transition times in a library or classroom – students can sing along while cleaning up, lining up, or gathering supplies. In preschool and Kindergarten, these songs could be used to introduce letters (CCSS ELA:L.1a Grades K-1). Many of the songs like “QU” and “The Vowel Family” would be helpful when teaching phonics (CCSS ELA:RF.3 Grades K-2). Some of the songs could even be used in upper grades, like “Go for G” to teach alliteration (CCSS ELA:RL.4) or “C is for Conifers” in Science.
· Here Come the 123s, Here Comes Science, No! – They Might Be Giants (more children’s songs from TMBG)
· Snack Time – Barenaked Ladies (children’s songs based on famous sayings that are full of puns)
· For the Kids - Various Artists (famous children’s songs redone by popular artists)
· Hot Potatoes! The Best of the Wiggles – The Wiggles (popular Australian quartet that sings kids’ music)
Parenting Magazine’s Children’s DVD of the Year
Amazon Best Children’s Album of 2005
Two National Parenting Publications Awards