Sandra Boynton is a popular American cartoonist, children's author, songwriter, producer, and director. Since 1974, Boynton has written and illustrated over sixty children's books and seven general audience books, including five New York Times bestsellers. More than 70 million of her books have been sold, "mostly to friends and family," she says. She has also written (with Michael Ford) and produced six albums of renegade children's music. Three of her albums have been certified Gold (over 500,000 copies sold), and Philadelphia Chickens, nominated for a Grammy, has gone Platinum (over 1 million copies sold). Boynton has also directed twelve music videos of her songs, including the award-winning "One Shoe Blues" starring B.B. King, "Alligator Stroll" starring Josh Turner, and "Tyrannosaurus Funk" (animation) sung by Samuel L. Jackson. She lives in rural New England, and her studio is in a barn with perhaps the only hippopotamus weathervane in America. Michael Ford, Sandra Boynton's esteemed collaborator on Philadelphia Chickens and Rhinoceros Tap, is a classically trained composer and pianist, with a long detour in Progressive Rock performance. He and his family live down the road a spell from Sandy.
The creative team that so cleverly presented musical theater for kids with the star-studded recording Philadelphia Chickens is back-this time with a mostly rock-and-roll romp, and another stellar cast of musical talent. Blues Traveler, replete with John Popper wailing on his harmonica, rides the rails for the driving title track about, yes, dogs on board a midnight train where "Kittycats are not allowed/ .../ their ears in the breeze/ .../ Their cold, wet, happy,/ quiv'ring noises outside." Mark Lanegan takes the octave down a few notches with his deep and bluesy rendition of "Sneakers" about the favorite footwear that's both comfy and quiet. The 1960s British invasion star Billy J. Kramer sounds every bit up-to-date as he blasts off on the spaceship song "Cow Planet." And who would've thunk that actress Kate Winslet and novelty performer "Weird Al" Yankovic could pull off a sunny and theatrically emotive duet on "I Need a Nap?" There are no clunkers here; other highlights include numbers by Alison Krauss, Spin Doctors, Hootie and the Blowfish and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme (hilariously singing the "Boring Song"). A knockout listen, in all the best ways, for the whole family. Like the songs, Boynton's book showcases her signature zippy sense of humor and loveable critters. It also includes complete lyrics and music for each number and brief profiles of all the performers. All ages. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
PreS-Gr 2-This collection of songs erupts with energy, humor, and a strong dose of rock 'n' roll. Like the author's Philadelphia Chickens (Workman, 2002), the book has a spread for each song-a colorful, cheerful illustration and excerpts of lyrics-followed by complete lyrics and musical scores at the end. An "About the Artists" section includes a photo and biographical sketch of each artist who performs on the accompanying CD. As she did for Chickens, Boynton has brought together an impressive assortment of talent, including Kate Winslet, Blues Traveler, and the Bacon brothers. Train stands apart from the earlier title for its stronger rock edge and narrative thread. Interwoven throughout the album are three songs about the quest to discover Cow Planet, beginning with an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Boynton captures a child's perspective of tantrums, naps, and daily life. A poignant "Penguin Lament" by John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting asks, "Can anyone small-be anyone serious?" The toe-tapping "Wave Bye-Bye" immediately grabs listeners with its lively tune and a child's earnest desire to leave an adult party. Smart, funny, and encompassing a variety of music styles from Broadway to Sinatra to alternative rock, the book and CD together deliver enjoyable reading and listening for both children and adults.-Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.