Without planning to, since 2006 I've been the default reviewer of kids music for NPR's All Things Considered.
It all started with a phone call from an NPR assistant in the spring of 2006 , who sent me an e-mail saying that they were interested in talking with someone on the radio about the sudden surge of kids music on the Billboard album charts. Would I be interested?
Yes. Yes, I would be interested.
My first few appearances were chats with Melissa Block, one of ATC's co-hosts; these talks tended to cover three to five albums at a time. They published my Top 20 list of 2006 kids music albums. Later on, I transitioned to crafting my own reviews, which were more narrowly focused on one or two albums. I even did a piece on a lawnmower. It's been a blast - hope you've enjoyed them, too.
Apr. 7, 2006: Music for Kids That Even Parents Might Love (Laurie Berkner: We Are... the Laurie Berkner Band DVD; Justin Roberts: Meltdown!; Brady Rymer: Every Day is a Birthday; Dan Zanes: Catch That Train!)
Dec. 6, 2006: Children's Tunes Revive Spirit of Punk Rock (Wee Hairy Beasties: Animal Crackers; Johnny Bregar: Hootenanny; The Jellydots: Hey You Kids!; Sam Hinton: Whoever Shall Have Some Peanuts)
July 10, 2007: Songs about Feet, Math, Baseball: New Kids' Music (Peter Himmelman: My Green Kite; Various Artists: Play; The Terrible Twos: Have You Ever Seen an Owl?; Renee & Jeremy: It's a Big World; Little Mo McCoury: Little Mo McCoury)
Dec. 19, 2007: "Pat a Cake" Has Never Sounded So Good (Dean Jones: Nappers Delight; Gustafer Yellowgold: Have You Never Been Yellow?; Recess Monkey: Wonderstuff; Medeski, Martin & Wood: Let's Go Everywhere)
Sept. 22, 2008: Grown-Up Bands Craft Kid Songs (They Might Be Giants: Here Come the 123s; The Board of Education: The Board of Education; The Nields: Rock All Day, Rock All Night)
Mar. 6, 2009: Lunch Money: Rock For Kids (Lunch Money: Dizzy)
May 7, 2009: Songwriter Billy Kelly: "People Really Like Milk" (Billy Kelly: "People Really Like Milk," from Welcome to the Happy Club)
Dec. 28, 2009: '90s Alt-Rockers Make Music for Your Kids (The Verve Pipe: A Family Album; Caspar Babypants: More Please!)
June 8, 2010: Justin Roberts' Perfect Summer Party (Justin Roberts: Jungle Gym)
Nov. 23, 2010: Hip-Hop And Vintage Pop: First-Rate Records for Kids (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo: Underground Playground; Elizabeth Mitchell: Sunny Day)
Aug. 17, 2011: Four Decades Later, Country Artists Return to "Fox Hollow" (Various Artists: Songs of Fox Hollow)
Sept. 27, 2011: Dan Zanes Plants A "Little Nut Tree" (Dan Zanes: Little Nut Tree)
Dec. 26, 2011: Brooklyn Band Makes Literate Music for the Littles (The Deedle Deedle Dees: Strange Dees, Indeed)
June 7, 2012: Music Review: "Can You Canoe" (The Okee Dokee Brothers: Can You Canoe?)
Aug. 17, 2012: Fire Up Your Kid's Imagination at the "Science Fair" (Various Artists: Science Fair)
Dec. 12, 2012: The Boogers and Play Date Make Punk Rock for Kids (The Boogers: Extractum Victoris; Play Date: Imagination)
June 6, 2013: Peter Pan and Don Quixote Find the "Home of Song" (Paul Spring: Home of Song )
August 12, 2013: Shine and the Moonbeams: R&B For The Kids (Shine and the Moonbeams: Shine and the Moonbeams)
September 24, 2013: For Families in Crisis, A Songwriter Offers Humor and Empathy (Alastair Moock: Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World's Bravest Kids)
December 24, 2013: Luscious Jackson Hits a Sweet Spot with New Children's Album (Luscious Jackson: Baby DJ)
January 16, 2014: Troubadour Radio: 'Jam Band' Releases a New Album for Kids (Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band: Lishy Lou and Lucky Too)