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Family | Look and Listen

'The Gift of the Eagle' Soars Through the World's Music

August 03, 2000|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Audio

The Gift of the Eagle. Summit Records. CD: $17. Ages 4 to 12. http://www.summitrecords.com

In the tradition of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," classical music is the framework for this lovely original fantasy about a black cat named Katrina, who is taken on an odyssey through the rhythms of the world by a magic eagle. The music-loving cat, who dreams of making music of her own, is destined to discover her purpose in life as she is whisked away by a whirling wind to forest and mountaintop, to a bustling fair, a lofty cathedral, a war-torn city and other locales, each with a sound of its own.

Listeners learn about various instruments and get a taste of Baroque music, compositions from the Renaissance, even ragtime, as the journey continues.

Written by conductor Timothy Russell, with music by composer David Noon, the vivid tale is told through narration by Janet Bookspan, songs sung by international opera soprano Faye Robinson and expressive performances by members of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Ohio. For parents and educators, the extensive guide that is packaged with the CD provides a rich resource of information and activities.

I'm More Than What I Seem. Padma Projects. CD and book: $18. Ages 9 to 14. (212) 645-5122. http://www.padmaprojects.com

This lovely little illustrated hardcover book and spoken-word CD package, subtitled, "Prayers for the Journey to Self," is based on Celia Straus' mother-to-daughter book, "Prayers on My Pillow." The inspirational, empathetic and reassuring nondenominational prayers are written to resonate with young girls who are going through the confusions of societal and peer expectations, and physical and emotional change.

Accompanied by muted and evocative New Age music by David Belmont and Josh Neretin, the works are read by celebrity artists Annette Bening, Blythe Danner, Amy Irving, Swoosie Kurtz, Kathleen Turner and a host of other notable talents. Part of the proceeds benefit New York-based Motherless Daughters Inc.

PigMania and GoldiRocks. The Children's Group/Atlantic Records/WEA. CD: $19 each. Ages 3 to 10. http://www.childrensgroup.com and http://www.judyanddavid.com

Canadian children's entertainers Judy & David, winners of Canada's Grammy Award equivalent, the Juno Award, offer new versions of old fairy tales in the first two volumes of the new "Once Upon a Time" musical series.

In the clever pop-rock "PigMania," swinging sax player Mama Pig sends her three grown-up offspring out into the world, but only sister pig Brainella builds herself a sturdy home. Lazy brothers Frankie and Woody party at the beach all summer, then slap together their shoddy dwellings just in time for a visit from a 1960's-style rock 'n' rollin' Big Bad Wolf. He shows up with barbecue sauce, and the partying pig dudes learn a lesson in responsibility.

In "GoldiRocks," an electric guitar-playing kid cranks up the volume when she rocks out, until mom and the neighbors get fed up. Feeling unappreciated, Goldi runs away and gets lost in the forest. An operatic owl and calypso-singing bears help Goldi expand her musical horizons beyond rock 'n' roll.

Both recordings are enhanced for computer use with song lyrics, music videos, puzzles and other activities.

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