animals, children, music

Billy Joins the Circus

Author: Anna Christina
Illustrator: Jenika Ioffreda
Publisher: Music Audio Stories
ISBN: 978-1-8383892-0-8
Pages: 34
Price: $18.99

Author’s website
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Billy the monkey has always wanted to join the circus, but his parents are less enthusiastic about the idea. One day a circus comes through the forest, and Billy jumps at the chance to join. But first he has to convince the Ringmaster and the flying dolly that he’s the right fit. Both ask him what he can do, and Billy sings to them about his skills.

Since this is a music audio story, the song is repeated three times with mounting enthusiasm. Billy shares his mobility skills, and kids will be able to join him as he stamps his feet, claps his hands, spins around, and jumps up and down. They will laugh with glee as they experience Billy’s joy in finally experiencing his dream of joining the circus.

Billy encourages kids to also follow their own dreams, because you never know when a circus will show up and offer you the opportunity you’ve always waited for. I highly recommend Billy Joins the Circus.

Reviewer: Alice Berger



Artist: David Baloche
Format: Audio CD
Price: $11.99

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He Hears My Voice
Nothing Can Separate
Come to Me
Green Pastures
Those Who Hope
Lead Me to the Rock
Groanings Too Deep for Words
As a Father Carries His Son
The Peace of God
My Help Comes From the Lord

Beautiful instrumental and electronic music accompanies repetitive phrases, encouraging a meditative state as the listener hears and absorbs these reassuring words from Scripture. The peacefulness of this CD reminds me of Gregorian chant for the modern listener. Highly recommended!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, music

Poets & Saints

Author: Jamie George
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0998-1
Pages: 240
Price: $16.99

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In an effort to discover the histories of some of the more famous names in Christianity, Jamie George and All Sons & Daughters took an epic journey to Europe. While visiting the places these saints lived, they determined to create music to engage the listener in their visions, as well as tell their stories on the page.

Poets & Saints traces the lives of C.S. Lewis, Saint Patrick, John Newton, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint Francis, William Cowper, Saint Augustine, George MacDonald, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Saint Peter. These saints’ stories unfold, along with the author’s musings on how their teachings speak to him today. A related CD contains music that corresponds to the readings on each of these great Christians.

Studying the lives of the saints encourages us today as we deal with some of the same struggles they lived with back in their own times. Poets & Saints captures their unique essence while also reminding us of their humanity, and the music is a beautiful accompaniment in reading their stories. I highly recommend this book and music set.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, music


Artist: Audrey Assad
Label: Fortunate Fall Records
Genre: Christian
Price: $18.95

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Inheritance includes a mix of classic Christian music along with some original tracks:

  • Ubi Caritas
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • I Wonder as I Wander
  • How Can I Keep from Singing
  • Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
  • Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet
  • New Every Morning
  • It Is Well with My Soul
  • Even Unto Death
  • Abide With Me

These tunes are quiet, reflective, and meditative in nature, as Audrey Assad’s haunting voice is accompanied by gentle instrumental and electronic music. I found that this CD made me feel incredibly peaceful and conscious of God’s profound and wonderful love. “New Every Morning” is especially uplifting and is my favorite. I highly recommend Audrey Assad’s music.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Under the Moon

Author: Misja Fitzgerald Michel
Illustrator: Ilya Green
Publisher: The Secret Mountain
Genre: Music Storybook
ISBN: 978-2-924417-78-8
Length: 40:09
Pages: 40
Price: $16.98

The Secret Mountain Website
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Under the Moon is a storybook and music CD combo, featuring seasonal jazz standards and lullabies.  The CD includes the following tracks:

  • Willow Weep for Me by Billie Holiday
  • Gone With the Wind by Julie London
  • It Might As Well Be Spring by Nina Simone
  • Come Rain or Come Shine by Sarah Vaughn
  • Stormy Weather by The Golden Gate Quartet
  • Blue Moon by Mel Tormé
  • The Snow Is Falling by Ray Charles
  • Winter Wonderland by Louis Armstrong
  • Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow! by Vaughn Monroe
  • December by Kay Starr
  • Winter Weather by Fats Waller
  • What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? by Ella Fitzgerald
  • Moon River by Audrey Hepburn

These mellow, bluesy, and upbeat tunes follow the seasons, beginning with spring.  The accompanying storybook provides illustrations, information, and song lyrics.  This is a great collection of classics that both kids and adults will enjoy throughout the year.

Reviewer:  Alice Berger

Christian, music

Sunny Days

Sunny Days
Artist: Tammy Trent
Label: September Day Records
Genre: Christian Music
Amazon Price: $12.10 (CD) $8.99 (MP3)

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Christian music doesn’t always have to sound serious – in fact, sometimes it can make you jump up and dance. Sunny Days is a lively compilation of feel-good songs with a great beat and strong Christian lyrics.

“Welcome Home” (my personal favorite track on this CD) has a wonderful message of forgiveness, as it reminds us we’ll always be welcomed back to our Father’s home. “Fall At Your Feet” brings us to our knees in worshiping our creator and offering our broken lives for His mercy. “I’m Running” sends us straight to the arms of the only God who can save us. Other songs are also reminders of our dependence on God for our whole lives, as we worship Him.

If there’s a storm cloud on your horizon, Sunny Days will be sure to chase it away. This uplifting music will brighten your outlook and bring you closer to God.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, music

Songs For Movin’ & Shakin’

Songs for Movin' & Shakin'
Artist: Lisa Loeb
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Music
Price: $14.95

Artist’s website
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Want to get your kids off the couch and moving around? Then give them some good music to dance to! Lisa Loeb’s forthcoming collection of Songs For Movin’ & Shakin’ is just what they need.

I was only given the track of Monster Stomp to review, but based on that one song, I believe this collection will be a hit with kids. The tune is upbeat and fun, and demands movement. The lyrics are playful and clever, and kids will love to sing along. And Loeb’s voice is easy on adults’ ears, since they may have to listen to these songs often.

I highly recommend Songs For Movin’ & Shakin’.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

music, self improvement, spirituality

Free Your Voice

Free Your Voice
Author: Sylvia Nakkach with Valerie Carpenter
Publisher: Sounds True
Genre: Spirituality / Self-help / Music
ISBN: 978-1-60407-800-8
Pages: 280
Price: $18.95

Author’s website
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Yoga of the Voice is a unique path used to open ourselves to life through singing. Not through the usual tunes we recognize as songs, but rather through primary sounds and breath. Free Your Voice describes the practice Sylvia Nakkach has created for her clients.

A download accompaniment is available at the Sounds True website, which should be used with this book. As each exercise is explained, the reader is provided examples of the sounds and tones. Nakkach encourages us to develop our own practice, creating an uninterrupted, twenty-one minute program from these.

Voice exercises sound like something only professional singers would perform, but Nakkach reassures us that these are also for the rest of us – even those who claim they can’t sing. Like traditional yoga, Yoga of the Voice will create a discipline that opens us further to life’s experiences.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Shakuhachi Meditation Music

Artist: Stan Richardson
Label: Sounds True
ISBN: 1-56455-420-1
Running Time: 141:50 (2 CD set)
Price: $13.90

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The shakuhachi is a Japanese flute that is difficult to play. Because of the intense concentration and focus needed, it is often used in meditation. Shakuhachi Meditation Music is a collection of ancient tunes used in Zen temples.

Using flute and bells, this soulful music relaxes the listener into a quiet meditative state. It can be used in formal meditation practice or simply to unwind and relax at the end of a long, hard day. While listening, one can feel tension melting away. I highly recommend this soothing meditation music.

Reviewer: Alice Berger



Composer: Michael Brant DeMaria
Label: Sounds True
Format: Audio CD
Running Time: 1 hour
Price: $14.99

Composer’s website
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Solace is music for emotional healing. Made up of tracks from Stonehenge, Bindu, and Gaia, it is meant to guide the listener on a journey to “loosen the stuck places” within our psyche and spirit.

This gentle piano, keyboard, flute and percussion music sets the stage by sending the listener into an introspective state. Once the mood has been created, the journey continues within to begin the healing process. The final track is lighter and more upbeat, as the journey is finished and this healing complete.

DeMaria is not only a composer, but also a psychologist, and his purpose is creating sounds to heal our minds and souls. As we listen to this delightful and soothing music, we may find we can face life’s challenges with more wisdom and compassion.

Reviewer: Alice Berger