Video: "Katy Caterpillar" - Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke

Amidst the rush and noise of the holiday season from Thanksgiving onward, I encourage families to come back to this video from Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke.  It's for "Katy Caterpillar," a gentle Beatlesque lullaby, and while I'm pretty sure November and January isn't the most common time of year for caterpillars to become butterflies, Wilde's animations of butterflies (and caterpillars) are soothing visually.  A perfectly pleasant two minutes.

Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke - "Katy Caterpillar" [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "That Thing You Do!" - The Wonders

If you have a certain affinity for pop music, you probably have an idea of what the perfect pop song is.

For me, "That Thing You Do!" is one such (rare) example.  It's by The Wonders and... what's that? You've never heard of the wonders?  That's because they, er, don't actually exist.  Rather, they're the band at the heart of the 1996 movie That Thing You Do!, directed by Tom Hanks (and featuring him in a supporting role).  The movie tells of the rise (and fall) of The Wonders, creators of the titular song.  Unsurprisingly, the song appears many times in the movie, and here's the beauty of it -- it never gets old.

In reality, the song was written by Adam Schlesinger of the great power-pop band Fountains of Wayne, and featured lead vocals by Mike Viola of the the band The Candy Butchers.  Of course, in reality, the song hit the Billboard charts -- not as high as in the movie, but reaching #41 on the Billboard Top 100.

But ignore all that, and just listen with the family...

The Wonders - "That Thing You Do!" [YouTube]

Video: "Manta Ray" - The Whizpops

I can't say that I'm on a first-name basis with Hank Green, the scientist who just seems to have way more time in the day than I do because he runs VidCon, NerdCon, and a whole bunch of other entrepreneurial efforts, even though I did recently attend NerdCon: Stories.

Still, the name "Hank Green" means more to me than it did, say, 18 months ago, and so when I heard that Montana kindie band The Whizpops were featured on a recent SciShow Kids episode of Green's, I figured, it'd be worth checking out.

And so it is!   It's for the song "Manta Ray," and it features some sweet animation and, well, manta rays. Win all around! Go science!

The Whizpops - "Manta Ray" [YouTube]

Kids' Music Videos for Halloween 2015

I've already posted an updated list of kids music songs for Halloween, but I wanted to give a special shout-out to three new videos -- maybe they can serve as the intro to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! showing at your neighborhood Halloween gathering.  Halloween is almost here, so let's get going!

First off, a nifty stop-motion animation piece for an instrumental song, "Skeleton Dance" by Monty Harper.  Totally appropriate for all ages.  (You can grab Harper's collection of Halloween tunes here.)

Monty Harper - "Skeleton Dance" [YouTube]

Next up, Mariana Iranzi offers up "Es Halloween," a Spanish-language song about, well, I don't think you need to know any Spanish to guess its subject.  The driving pop-rock song features a nice groove, while the animated video features five pumpkins rolling along.

Mariana Iranzi - "Es Halloween" [YouTube]

I've posted this before, but it's too good not to include...

The Hipwaders - "The Boy Who Cried El Chupacabra" [YouTube]

And, finally, it's John Joyce and Poochamungas singing "Bah Humbug Halloween," the story of Scrooge meeting the ghosts of Halloween Past, Halloween Present, and... Elvis?  OK, not quite, but... mostly.  The video tells the story in mostly live-action narrative.  I really don't remember Dickens writing this story, but I'm good anyway.

Poochamungas - "Bah Humbug Halloween" [YouTube]

Video: "Owl Singalong" - Raffi

Raffi - Owl Singalong cover

Raffi - Owl Singalong cover

The return of Raffi to the kids music scene has been one of the most pleasant surprises from the past couple years of kids music.  His 2014 album Love Bug was a solid return to the industry, his voice and sensibility undimmed from the '70s and '80s when he almost single-handedly created the kids music section in record stores.  He's said he felt a "stirring" to make music, and that stirring continues as he releases his next album, Owl Singalong, on January 15, 2016.

He's already released one video from the new album, for the reggae-and-strings "Green Dream" and now he's released a second video.  It's for the title track, "Owl Singalong."  The track is classic Raffi -- gentle, funny, and featuring his voice, which remains the best male voice in kids music.  The video is pretty simple, little more than illustrations, but they're cute enough, and the song engaging enough, that it should work well for the preschoolers in your orbit.

Raffi - "Owl Singalong" [YouTube]

Video: "Piñata Attack" - Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

I don't think "Piñata Attack" was specifically written as a Halloween song, but between candy theme and Lucky Diaz' slinky surf guitar line, releasing a video for the song (from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band's Adelante album) around Halloween seems... appropriate.

If it makes you feel any better, the fact that it's a lyric ("letra") video should give some substance to the empty candy calories, right?

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band - "Piñata Attack" [YouTube]