Review: Catch the Moon - Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell

An increasingly popular approach to recording kids' CDs is packaging the CD with a book. In some cases, like Philadelphia Chickens and Rhinoceros Tap from Sandra Boynton or Bed, Bed, Bed by They Might Be Giants, the hardcover book is pretty big, and doesn't necessarily lend itself to play with a preschooler. But the ubiquitous "board book" format is beginning to become popular with recording artists.

Now, the first question with any of these book/CD combos is… "Where in the world do you file these things?" With the oversized hardcovers, it seems they get exiled to places far from the stereo or car CD player and just don't get much airplay. The board book versions (this CD, the Dan Zanes CDs) solve that problem by having books that are barely larger than the CD itself. Of course, filing them with the rest of the CDs means that they rarely get read. Oh, the waste!

Maybe I'm just too hard to please.

Well, not really. And this CD does have an advantage in that it is quite pleasing. Mitchell is known, of course, for her 2 children's CDs, You Are My Flower and You Are My Sunshine. Loeb is new to the children's music game, known best for, well, winsome pop. Together, they've made an album that isn't much different from Mitchell's two solo CDs, except that maybe it's a little more polished (but still somewhat winsome). It's also a little more international, as the album includes renditions of traditional Spanish, Japanese, and French songs. (They're pleasant enough, but don't have huge appeal to me.) That seems to be the Loeb influence; fans of Mitchell's out-of-left-field (though usually excellent) cover song selections for her kids' CDs will be pleased by the inclusion of Dylan's "New Morning."

The best track on the album by far is the title track, an original by Mitchell, Loeb, and Mitchell's writing partners. "Catch the Moon" isn't just a great kids' song, it's a great song, period. It's a gentle pop song that would be a minor Billboard hit in a more eclectic radio world.

The album is probably best for kids aged 2 years (or even younger) through maybe 5 years. The accompanying book is a nice addition. I would recommend the album to fans of Mitchell's other work, as well as to parents looking for a mellow, poppy, multi-cultural kids' CD.