Tor Hyams has composed scores for film and
TV and produced top recording artists and live music festivals for
children. He wrote and produced "A World of Happiness" and
co-authored a book by the same name. He launched the first
KindieFest Family Music Conference in 2009, and his family music
label, Happiness Records.
Michael Berick is the calendar editor at L.A. Parent, where he also reviews children's CDs. He has written about children's music for the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly, and about music, in general, for more than 20 years.
This hip and fabulous set of nighttime music features originals and well-chosen cover tunes. Putumayo Kids, 2011; $14.98; putumayokids.com; infants to age 5.
Ella Jenkins, the "First Lady of Children's Music," is back with a healthy dose of classic African American folk songs. This inspirational collection infuses deep, soulful joy in the listener. The featured child singers and authentic American folk instrumentation make this album a must-have, never-give-away classic. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2011; $15; folkways.si.edu; infants and up.
A San Diego-based duo delivers an engaging set of traveling tunes. Hullabaloo Music, 2011; $12; hullabalooband.com; infants to age 6.
Music for Little People has delivered classic children's music for years. Music for Little People, 2010; $13.98; musicforlittlepeople.com; ages 1-2.
Trout Fishing In America tells a comical tale about a cat named Chicken Joe whose barnyard pals have a fun surprise for him. Includes storybook and CD. The Secret Mountain, 2011; $16.95; thesecretmountain.com; ages 4-10.
Tom Chapin's new CD is steeped in the traditional folk genre, while addressing modern issues. Sundance Music, 2011; $15; tomchapin.com; ages 3 and up.
The Hipwaders, a California-based "kindie" rock group, pays homage to their home state. The Hipwaders, 2011; $11.97; hipwaders.net; ages 3 and up.
The sage-like Peter Alsop shares his enlightening music. Moose School Productions, 2010; $15; peteralsop.com; ages 4-12.
Imagination Movers will get kids movin' and groovin' to these highly energetic tunes. Walt Disney Records, 2010; $11.98; waltdisneyrecords.com; ages 2-5.
Brady Rymer's album captures the joy of youth through his Roy Orbison-meets-Tom Petty rock stylings. Bumblin Bee Records, 2011; $9.90; bradyrymer.com; ages 4 and up.
George Handel's life and work come alive. Performed by Yadu, Bonnie Ward Simon, Stephen Simon and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Maestro Classics, 2011; $16.98; maestroclassics.com; ages 9 and up.
Alastair Moock's knack of filling catchy ditties with humorous lyrics will bring a smile to your face. Moockshake Music, 2011; $15; moockmusic.com; ages 3-8.
Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights give us an album with a style for everyone - from funk and blues to country and pop, with even a little hip-hop thrown in. City Kid Music, 2011; $15; citykidmusic.com; ages 2 and up.