PreSchool-Grade 2-Storytelling great Bill Harley treats listeners to six bedtime stories and four songs, all of which take place in an imaginary town called "Around the Bend." After a warning about not jumping on the bed, Harley sings "Nighty Noodles," a wonderful ragtime/jazz piece. Then he tells "How the Town Around the Bend Got Its Name." A group of people without bellybuttons can't laugh or smile, because their laughter leaks out the hole where the bellybutton should be in the story "Bellybuttons." A lovely folk-style song, "Look Out Your Window," encourages listeners to watch the stars. In the story "Bucket of Beans, Clarisse, and the Bubble Machine," a boy and his sister are warned by their parents not to go into the basement. They go down anyway, find their parents' bubble-making machine, and order up a billion bubbles, which breaks the machine. A baker offers free pillows with his baked goods to local insomniacs in "Why Pillows Sing," which is followed by the song "I'm Your Pillow." The answer to "Why Kids Sing to Their Parents" is that, once a month, to give their parents a break, the kids tuck in the parents and sing a lullaby. The country western lullaby "Go to Sleep, Little Daddy," is sung beautifully by young Patti Laliberte. In "Strawberry Peach Sky," a girl insists that the sky will turn into strawberries and peaches, but a boy makes fun of her, until she points out the colors of the sunset. The album ends with a short reprise of "Nighty Noodles." Harley is in top storytelling and singing form, and is accompanied by wonderful instruments, including guitar, slide guitar, baritone ukulele, cello, electric and acoustic bass, cornet, and crickets. This quiet, toned-down album will enhance the audio storytelling collections of most libraries.
Beverly Bixler, San Antonio Public Library, TX
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