Early Childhood Classics
Old Favorites With A New Twist

Here is a joyful collection of all time favorite activity songs for young children. Hap Palmer’s unique renditions preserve the charm and simplicity of traditional songs while adding new, original lyrics and melodies to extend and enrich the familiar classics.

The simplicity and repetition of these songs guarantee active participation by encouraging children to sing and move with the music. While having fun and participating actively, children develop motor and musical skills and learn about animals, counting, identification of body parts, and phonics. As children sing along, responding to the imagery and humor of the lyrics, reading readiness is also enhanced. Alliteration and rhyme develop a child’s ear for the sounds of language – an important pre-reading skill.

These songs are developmentally appropriate for the very young child – infant to 5 years. However, the familiar melodies and contemporary arrangements also elicit surprisingly gusty participation from first and second grade students. A variety of musical styles adds new life to well known songs with swing, blue grass, country, classical, rock, pop, and blues arrangements.

Fifteen songs are presented with vocal interpretation. The sequence is then repeated instrumentally providing opportunities for singing along and creating new lyrics using children’s ideas. Instrumental selections also familiarize children with the sounds of a variety of musical instruments including piano, bass, drums, guitar, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, tuba, French horn, saxophone, flute, English horn, accordion, and a variety of percussion instruments such as conga drums, bougaraboo drum, ouiro, shaker, wood block and tambourine. Ages 1-7

Product Number: HP111


• Parents' Choice Gold Award
• Parents' Guide To Children Media Award
• Early Childhood New Directors' Choice Award
• Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award
• Children's Music Web Classic Award


Chicago Parent
One of the real pioneers in children's music is Hap Palmer. His latest, Early Childhood Classics (Hap-Pal Music, 2000) recently won a Parents' Choice Gold Award and is aptly subtitled "Old Favorites With A New Twist." This is an upbeat collection of some all-time favorite activity songs for young children, many updated with new, original lyrics and melodies.

Palmer knows 3-to 5-year olds well. (My son gave it a listen using my headphones and portable CD player and refused to give up the headphones until about the twelfth song.) Standouts include a neat "Circle Songs" medley as well as standards such as "Bingo," "The Wheels On The Bus" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes."

Another feature found often in "educational" recordings are instrumental tracks that allow children to sing along without the vocalist - a kind of preschool Karaoke experience. Teachers love this feature. Early Childhood Classics includes 15 songs; tracks 16-30 are repeats with the vocals mixed out. As a parent and educator, I also appreciated the guide which was included with the CD, featuring lyrics and recommended activities for each song. – Pedia Media A preschool music primer for parents by Fred Koch

Parents' Choice
"There's a spider on your toenail...A spider on your knee...” the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" covers a lot more territory than the garden spout in Hap Palmer's version of this childhood favorite. Palmer-musician, wordsmith, educator-is tops in using music and movement to teach skills and stimulate imagination. Here he adds dimension to familiar children's songs, enlivening them with playful new words and rhythms. "I'm A Little Teapot" features a surprisingly active piece of crockery that dances up a storm; "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is enriched with a poetic new second verse that includes a beautiful line from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Includes lyrics and activities for each song. A 2000 Parents' Choice Gold Winner. -- Lynne Heffley

Publishers Weekly
Palmer “Can A Jumbo Jet Sing The Alphabet?” is at his spirited best on this latest collection of songs designed to get kids moving. A master at blending music and simple movements for a fun (and, yes, educational) experience, Palmer takes an all-time-greatest-hits list of action songs and gives them fresh appeal. From "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to "I'm A Little Teapot," traditional tunes form the foundation upon which Palmer builds new, original lyrics and musical arrangements. "Pat-A-Cake" and "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" take on a bluegrass flavor, while "Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes" approaches a bluesy rock sound. Several new verses turn "Bingo" into a nifty phonics lesson: "Bingo growled as gophers gobbled/ Underneath the garden/ Growl begins with 'G'/ Let's clap the letter 'G.' " Palmer's sunny vocals receive strong support from a bright sounding children's chorus and crisp accompaniment on a vast range of instruments. After Palmer sings the 15 songs they repeat in sequence again, as instrumentals, so that kids can sing along and perhaps even make up their own lyrics. A booklet containing song lyrics and suggested movements in included.

Hap Palmer may be best known for his vocal contributions to the hugely popular Baby Songs video series, but parents of 2 to 5-year-olds, particularly those with a sturdier than average educational bent, will find a lot to love on Early Childhood Classics: Old Favorites with a New Twist. This release rids itself of tiresome attempts to turn performances of simple songs like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" into minor personal masterpieces and instead injects its de rigueur dose of creativity directly into familiar lyrics. For instance, while there's the usual cow and pig on Old MacDonald's farm, we're also introduced to Henrietta's House, where there's a cat, Zebediah's zoo with its tiger, and the puppy in Pamelina's pet shop. Similarly, instead of the usual "Pat-A-Cake" cliffhanger, where the cake's put in the oven and that's all she wrote, we get to hear the ding-ding-ding when it's done and layer on the frosting. The sequence of songs is repeated instrumentally after Palmer's interpretations to allow for sing-alongs and the dreaming up of more new lyrics -- a useful device for caregivers who think like teachers (those who don't, though, can make use of clever movement and activity suggestions in the liner notes). Each song's wordplay and simple rhymes are catchy enough to fall into the can't-fail category when it comes to enhancing vocabulary, phonics, and vocabulary skills, and the surprise lyrics lend themselves nicely to attentive listening. Early Childhood Classics delivers old-fashioned fun in a satisfyingly unsplashy way. -- Tammy La Gorce

Cover - Early Childhood Classics
1. (16) Itsy Bitsy Spider
2. (17) Pat-A-Cake
3. (18) I’m A Little Teapot
4. (19) Old MacDonald
5. (20) Touch Your Toes To Your Nose
6. (21) Circle Songs:
The Mulberry Bush,
Ring Around The Rosy, Hokey Pokey
7. (22) Open Shut Them
8. (23) One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
9. (24) Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes
10. (25) Bingo
11. (26) The Elephant
12. (27) Sammy / I’m Glad I’m Me
13. (28) Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
14. (29) The Wheels On The Bus
15. (30) Good-Bye Song

Numbers in (  ) are instrumentals of songs