(Kids) Musicians Who Need (Kids) Musicians: Booking Agents

In this episode of our sporadically popular "Readers Who Need Readers" series, I'm reprinting a portion of a recent e-mail from a kids musician who shall remain nameless...
Well, Stefan, how come I can't find a professional booking agent? Apparently I am at this weird professional juncture where I am now earning a healthy living and too busy and successful with shows and production projects to have any more time to actively BOOK my own shows (that seems good), but NOT quite successful enough to attract a professional booking agent (that seems bad). So apparently I am not such The Man after all. Admittedly, the extent of my booking agent search was to send a single unsolicited e-mail to nine booking agents I found online who represent other family musicians (and it was actually even hard to find NINE real agents in this business...), but thus far my "Yes, I would love to book [X]" response rate of precisely 0% is rather uninspiring... If you have any pearls of wisdom from your experience in this business... BRING IT ON PLEASE!
Well, my specific pearls of wisdom (such as they were, and hardly meriting the all-caps of "BRING IT ON") would tip off who the artist is, but I'm opening this up to other artists out there. Thoughts about ways to find a booking agent? A booking agent you'd recommend? This does strike me as a trickier genre for booking than traditional rock music, a niche, no doubt. And don't forget about Kindiefest.com -- there's another community that may be of help. (But entering responses here will also help folks who come searching for this info in months and years to come...)

Readers Who Need Readers: Baa Baa Buckle My Shoe

It's time for another edition of "Readers Who Need Readers," in which the Zooglobble hive mind helps one of our own track long-lost songs... 1998 -- bell bottoms were the rage, people loved Grease in the theatres, and a little comic strip named Garfield made its debut. Oh, wait, that was 1978. 1998 was the year we spent a lot of time thinking about President Clinton and arguing over whether Shakespeare in Love or Saving Private Ryan was the better movie. (To my neighbor's chagrin, I firmly believe the former, although the latter isn't without its moments.) It's also the year a Zooglobble reader spent some time listening to a couple songs lost to the mists of time... She writes:
I’ve been searching for a couple of children’s songs that I used to play for my son (about 1998-1999). One was a version of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” – but it was just music and animal sounds (plus a cow bell or two), no lyrics. The other song was called (I think) “Buckle My Shoe Rap” and featured a rapper and a kid rapper. I thought it might be LL Cool J, but all my searches have been in vain.
So how about it? I'm stumped... it could be anything, and since it predates my immersion into the genre by a couple years, it's not in my collection. (I've got a number of pre-2000 albums, just not these.) Can anyone help?

Readers Who Need Readers: St. Patrick's Day Songs

A reader sent me this request recently:
I am a children's librarian... I am getting together a music/movement/story program for toddlers and preschoolers for St. Patrick's Day and am stumped on finding great music. Any suggestions?
Well, I'll admit to being a little stumped, but here's what I suggested... I'd probably go with an Irish theme -- "Wild Mountain Thyme" perhaps (the Dan Zanes and Nields recordings are excellent). There's a kids album by Kathy Ludlow and Mary Coogan, who sing with traditional Irish groups. The album is called The Big Ship Sails and while it's not really Irish-specific, it has a definite Irish sound. For quiet time, you could always try Putumayo's Celtic Dreamland disk. The American-Irish duo Sunflow has an album called Under the Stars, which is another non-Irish specific quiet time disk. Or you could always play songs featuring Patrick... from Spongebob Squarepants. (I'm here all week, folks.) Anyways, those are my suggestions -- how about yours?

Readers Who Need Readers: Teaching ESL to Older Kids

Bill "Nine Fingers" Childs passed on an e-mail he received from a reader of his asking for his help...
I have traveled from my native Minnesota (still reading an online offering of your monthly Parent articles), and I now find myself in the arctic climes of Moscow - teaching english to juniors (age 7 - 10) and pre-teens (age 10 - 13). I am starting with british-based textbooks that are not well conceived from my perspective. It is too cerebral an approach to simple introduction of alphabet and phonics. Can you recommend some recordings of good basic ABC songs? What of the old camp songs for young children (ears hang low, hand shoulders knees toes, etc.) The pre-teens are simply hellions. I don't know what to do with them. Music would give them an outlet for all their energy and desire to "perform". But again, what is appropriate or accessible for them? For them, it needs to be something that isn't "childish", if you understand that. It is so difficult... for them - for me, in a strange country and city.
Well, I've got some suggestions after the jump, but would love for you to suggest the ones I've missed...

Readers Who Need Readers: Road Trip (Eastern U.S. Edition)

I got the following e-mail a few days back...
Hello from a Maine homeschooling Mom... My 8-year-old son has the incredible opportunity to drive from Maine to Mississippi next month with his grandparents. I'm putting together some 'on the road' school for him including short studies of each state he will go through. I'm wondering if there are albums that feature different regional music in the USA? Or, if you could recommend at good blues album for kids so that they can celebrate properly once they are in Mississippi.
Unlike many "Readers Who Need Readers" segments, I was able to answer the question (in part) -- click through to see my response, which comes with some help -- and offer some more suggestions to fill in the gaps.

Six Little Ducks Across the Pond (Readers Who Need Readers)

It's time once again for kids music's most irregularly scheduled feature -- that's right, it's time for Readers Who Need Readers. Readers Who Need Readers is that wonderful post where becuase I'm unable to provide a fully useful answer to a correspondent, I open the floor up to you, dear readers, to fill in my knowledge gap. This time we're answering a request from a Belgian resident who's says...
I'm trying to find good (English) music for my children of 1 and 3...and it's really hard to find anything else than noisy BBC "head, shoulders, feet & toes" type CD's. So I've started searching the net and have read already several of your reviews, thanks! But for various reasons I'm also looking for a source/reviews for British/UK based groups and musicians. No offence meant to you or American artists though!!!
There have been some good UK albums, but they've all been from "adult" artists making one-off albums (Colours Are Brighter collection, Saint Etienne, etc.). And although I've come across a few UK-based kids' musicians, none of them have particularly interested me. So help a bloke out -- any suggestions, either for Zooglobble-UK sites or for particular artists/albums you and your family particularly enjoy?