Some artists are busy recording music for already-written books, while plenty of other artists write their own books to go along with their music. The Seattle duo Mr. and Mrs. Muffins are charting a third, less-traveled course in the family music world -- writing books that serve as the basis for new music.
Late last year they released a couple book/CD collections -- The Adventures of Ms. Rabbit and Mr. Carrot and The Striped Ladybird. "Book" is probably a bit strong of a word for those families still strongly in the physical object camp, as the only book available is a PDF document. But the books look pretty nice on an iPad while following along to the mp3s.
Musically, both albums are a throwback to a good fifty years or so in the past, with Ladybird offering up some bossa nova and other laid-back Brazilian sounds and chamber pop (even a little Beach Boys), while Ms. Rabbit provides more of a Parisian vibe (dig the accordion). Each album features musical interudes interspersed with narration of the story. The stories themselves are gently moralistic fables, teaching lessons (Ms. Rabbit: making friends is a good thing; Ladybird: it's OK to be different). The concept of the interaction between the book and the music doesn't work perfectly as there isn't enough visually in the book between the narrative to hold the attention of the reader for most of the musical interludes. But the art direction is pretty, especially for Ms. Rabbit.
The stories are most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 7. You can stream both albums below, or, go here to stream just the music from both disks (a
"best of" which, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, will be pressed on vinyl). If you're choosing, I'd go with The Adventures of Ms. Rabbit and Mr. Carrot for the art direction and The Striped Ladybird for the music. Recommended for fans of dreamy stories and sounds for a rainy day -- I hope this is just the beginning...
Disclosure: None! I bought these e-books myself.