I really liked Kira Willey's first album of music for kids, Dance for the Sun. It was one of those rare albums written with a specific purpose in mind -- in this case, yoga music for kids -- that not only served that purpose but also could be listened to outside of that context. (It's an album that still gets played occasionally in our house.)
So of course I was eager to hear Willey's long-awaited follow-up, Kings & Queens of the Forest. I'm happy to report that Willey retains her touch at crafting poppy kids music which which could please folks who don't know their downward dogs from hot dogs. There's an obvious bias toward songs that encourage movement -- the leadoff track "Roller Coaster" talks about going up, down, and to the side, for example -- but lyrics are sometimes subtle enough that the yoga origins aren't obvious. "Let the Sun Shine In," for example, features Willey's brother Tom Shileds Jr. doing his bass vocal thing again in a jazzy song that could be about the sun salutation but is pretty much just a happy song. And "The Mixing Bowl" happens to accompany a two-person yoga move, but is lovely no matter the time or place.
The songs here are most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8. You can listen to a handful of tracks from the new album at Willey's Soundcloud page. As with its predecessor, the hour-plus album also features Willey leading the yoga poses for each song.
Kings & Queens of the Forest is a pleasant collection of pop songs for kids with jazz, surfer, country, and acoustic undertones. Fans of Dance for the Sun will like this new one, and I would have difficulty picking a favorite between the two. Kings & Queens would stand up fine on its own, but for families (and teachers) looking for an album to encouragement (yoga or otherwise), this will definitely fit the bill. Recommended.
[Disclosure: I was given a copy of the album for possible review.]