No, this is not the title of the latest Stephen Colbert book. It’s the new go-to CD for kids in our house, “Picasso, That’s Who! (And So Can You!)” by Hope Harris.
My Bean is really hot for this CD. She asks for it in the car. She wants me to play it at home on the stereo. She’s such a little dancer–her first ballet recital is approaching and I fear she may be paralyzed by nerves and spend the entire presentation in my lap. Which is fine. She’s four. But I just know how much she loves to dance. She doesn’t walk around the apartment…she prances. Hands on her hips. Toes pointed. The whole nine yards. Hope Harris’s new CD, “Picasso, That’s Who!” is the accompaniment of choice for her these days.
But more than that, Cate has been asking about the artists Hope Harris sings about on the CD. Each song features a different famous artist. The lyrics tell a bit of the story of the artist’s life and the nature of her work, and the song style typically reflects either the artists’s country of origin or something essential about her creations. The title track has an awesome Latin beat; “A-C-T-I-O-N”, a song about Jackson Pollock, rocks a funky 60’s groove; and Grandma Moses is expressed with lots of country bluegrass pickin’. This is the first CD about artists I’ve come across and I think it’s a really clever and inventive idea to introduce kids to art…through music! I think we’ll listen to the CD before taking a trip to the Met this summer. How cool will it be to show her pictures created by the artists she dances to. And I can’t imagine a better CD for art teachers to play in their classrooms.
In Hope Harris’s words (I don’t usually do this, but I think she really talks about her work insightfully):
With Picasso, That’s Who! (And So Can You!) my goal is to spark curiosity and inspire creativity. I want kids to look at the world around them, be motivated to visit art galleries and museums, and to realize that artists are everywhere making all kinds of art. I’d like to say to every child who hears this music, ‘Now it’s your turn … paint it, glue it, draw it, mix it, try it! All the artists on this album did, and you can, too! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Use your imagination and have some fun!
I hold out that CDs for kids are some of the best birthday presents you can give. Our kids are drowning in plastic toys and stuffed animals. Give the gift of music this birthday! You’ll be so glad you did!