Review Corner Award
January - 2004

Two Little Sounds
Fun with Phonics and Numbers
Hap Palmer, Hap-Pal Music HP114
Ages 4-9

Bottom Line
Basic phonics and number awareness skills are taught through music and movement in this educationally useful children's recording. Packed with activity songs that invite participation, this recording is fun and educational.

Product Overview
This follow-up recording to One Little Sound offers more activity songs designed to entertain and educate young children. Filled with valuable lessons in early reading and math, this pleasant recording by Hap Palmer (the artist behind many of the Baby Songs videos) stands out for its devotion to educating kids as they enjoy child-friendly music. 

This recording is just as appropriate for home use as it is for Kindergarten and first grade environments. Key learning concepts are presented in fun ways. Most songs are original compositions, and the few cover songs are redone in fun and educationally valuable ways. For example, the familiar Apples and Bananas is redone to include both long and short vowel sounds in Apples, Bananas, Peaches, and Tomatoes. Hickory Dickory Dock teaches beginning consonant sounds as a procession of animals join the mouse in his travels up the clock. Different coin combinations that add up to 100 pennies are featured in Five Pennies Make a Nickel, and math word problems are ingeniously incorporated into the song Tall Tremendous Tens and Wee Wonderful Ones.

Participation is encouraged through lyrical prompts and questions. Musical questions are posed in many of the songs, and are followed by appropriate pauses so that little listeners get a chance to call out (or think out) answers before children deliver the "answer" lyrics. Other lyrical prompts encourage movement and activity. For example, What Are You Wearing? encourages children to perform specific actions (such as pat their pants if they are wearing pants) according to what they are wearing, where the action verb begins with the same sound as the object of clothing.

The second half of Two Little Sounds features instrumentals of many of the recording's featured 18 tracks. These instrumental versions allow children to sing along karaoke-style once they are familiar with the songs' lyrics, or they can be used to encourage creative movement.

The concepts taught on this recording are slightly more advanced than those featured on One Little Sound. For example, the dual letter sounds of letters like G and C are explored in The English Language Gets a Little Kooky (Consonants). While younger children will surely enjoy the song, it's unlikely they will be able to keep up with the educational concepts. The liner notes not only include lyrics, they present detailed suggested activities that take advantage of, and extend, the song's educational opportunties.

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