Monday Morning Smile: "Unpack Your Adjectives" - The Corner Laughers

Anything from Schoolhouse Rock is probably the prototypical Monday Morning Smile, something geared to both parents and adults.  So when the Hipwaders' Tito Uquillas mentioned to me that he really liked a version of "Unpack Your Adjectives" by the Bay Area not-specifically-for-kids band The Corner Laughers, I knew I had to check it out.  Sure enough, this live version of the classic SR track is sweet, highlighted by Karla Kane's vocals.

The Corner Laughers sometimes back up fellow Bay Area musician Alison Faith Levy, so they're no strangers to kindie, and while they're not writing kids music per se, most of their jangly indie pop would pass kindie muster, lyrically too, if not necessarily as verbose as George Newall's "Adjectives"...

The Corner Laughers - "Unpack Your Adjectives" (from Schoolhouse Rock) [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "Cookie-Tin Banjo" - Benjamin Scheuer and Escapist Papers

I've previously featured "The Lion," a delightfully-animated video from Benjamin Scheuer and his band Escapist Papers, as a "Monday Morning Smile."

Now I'm featuring "Cookie-Tin Banjo," a delightfully-animated video from Benjamin Scheuer and his band Escapist Papers, as a "Monday Morning Smile."  The song is a tender ballad featuring delicate fret work on the guitar, and the animation (directed by Peter Baynton based on illustrations by Nicholas Stevenson) is of a different, fuzzier style, but the upshot -- an achingly lovely portrait of fathers and families -- is the same.  In fact, in its celebration of music through the generations, it's even more apropos for this site.

Benjamin Scheuer and Escapist Papers - "Cookie-Tin Banjo" [Vimeo]

Monday Morning Smile: "Wayne the Stegosaurus"

I love this idea.  Motionpoems is a Minnesota-based non-profit that essentially facilitates music videos for poetry.  Now, it's not quite Tawny Kitaen rocking out to John Ashbery, but the results, featuring hand-picked poems and video artists, are intriguing to see.

Most of the poems are geared for adults, but one of the most recent, "Wayne the Stegosaurus," is for readers of all ages.  It's a poem by well-known children's poet Kenn Nesbitt, and the animation is from Jeffrey Dates and Aran Quinn.  I mean, if you don't want to watch after seeing the still below, then you are not a poetry or dinosaur fan.

Monday Morning Smile: "Dog" - Nat Johnson

If I didn't already have a sparkly and cheerful video lined up last Monday morning, I totally would have posted this video from British singer Nat Johnson.  It's for the song "Dog" from Johnson's forthcoming album Neighbour of the Year, and if this doesn't end up on the inevitable tweaking/re-release of Putumayo's Animal Playground, then somebody (could be them, could be me) isn't doing their job right.  The gentle folk tune nails the desire for pet companionship, as do Fettle Animation's felt-ish drawings.  (And if you can't wait for the album, buy the single here or on iTunes.)

Nat Johnson - "Dog" [YouTube] (h/t: Lori Henriques)

Monday Morning Smile: "Hockey Monkey" - The Zambonis

I was going back through my archives and was surprised to find that I've never posted this video on the site (or if I have, I have very poor website indexing and searching skills).

It's the classic song from James Kochalka and The Zambonis, "Hockey Monkey." The animation (and song) was used for the Nickelodeon animation show KaBlam!, but really I'm posting it because 1) the NHL playoffs are underway, and 2) it's never not an awesome song.

The Zambonis - "Hockey Monkey" [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "The Importance of Kindness" - George Saunders

Unlike the last time I posted a clip that set the words of a commencement speech to some interesting visuals, this clip is a fully vetted and authorized one.  It's a small portion of George Saunders' commencement speech at Syracuse University in May 2013.  The fact that it's essentially an advertisement for a book version of that speech makes it no less beautiful and thought-provoking in the way all good commencement speeches should be.