Itty-Bitty Review: "The Best of The Laurie Berkner Band" - The Laurie Berkner Band

BestOfLaurieBerknerBand.jpgWhy such a tiny review for such a big superstar as Laurie Berkner? Because it's a greatest hits disk, the future of which is somewhat in doubt in the mp3 era. After all, if your family are superfans, you'll get it just for the three new-to-CD tracks, including rerecordings of "Pig on Her Head" and "Moon Moon Moon," both previously seen on video, and the new track "Open Your Heart." (There's a deluxe edition as well, featuring four videos, including a previously-unreleased one for "Mouse in My Toolbox," which is similar in scope to Berkner's other Nick videos. You superfans will probably want that version.) The rest of you? You might just download the extra tracks from the album you don't have (there are no more than four from any particular album).

But that obscures just how important a songwriter and performer Berkner is for the pre-K set. As a whole, it's a solidly constructed disk, with no major omissions -- I personally would've included more tracks from her debut Whaddaya Think of That?, but all the big tracks are here. And over the roughly 15 years or so Berkner's been performing for kids she's compiled a catalog of songs that would be the envy of just about any kids' musician. "We Are the Dinosaurs" is a stone-cold kids' classic, for example, one that works equally well performed live by a band and performed by your preschooler's teacher. "Moon Moon Moon" is the only lullaby written in the past hundred years that I actually sing to my kids. And "Victor Vito" is cheesy, dorky, and stuck in your brain for the next week now that I've mentioned it. And so on.

While other artists slowly slide up to the 4-to-8-year-old age range, Berkner's continued to make music -- darn good music -- for preschoolers. So while I'm not sure many regular readers actually need The Best of The Laure Berkner Band! given the relative lack of new songs, as a collection of some of the best original music for preschoolers of the past twenty years, it's highly recommended.

(Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the regular edition of the album for possible review.)