________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006


Pajama Party! Songs for Play Time, Story Time & Sleep Time.

Mary Lambert.
Kingston, ON: Mary Lambert Productions (www.marylambertmusic.com), 2006.
49 min., 47 sec., CD, $15.99.

Subject Heading:
Children's songs.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 2-7.

Review by Ruth Scales McMahon.

*** /4


Pajama Party!

Mary Lambert.
Kingston, ON: Mary Lambert Productions (www.marylambertmusic.com), 2006.
87 min., DVD, $17.99.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 2-7.

Review by Ruth Scales McMahon.

**Ĺ /4


Pajama Party is a very ambitious project which includes an audio-CD and DVD by the same name. Mary Lambert has worked very hard on this production, as I know from 10 years experience producing and performing a weekly television program for children and collaborating on some audio recordings. There are many things to consider in these creations.

      Her DVD is divided into four segments: a 45 minute live concert and three segments on Type One Diabetes. The first informational segment is a dramatization for children featuring a pajama party (where the children are watching the Pajama Party DVD) with one guest who suffers from juvenile diabetes. The two remaining informational segments are directed at adults, one for parents, and one for teachers and caregivers.

      The live concert starts with good energy with the song "Pajama Time" and all the performers dressed in their p.j.'s. However, the connecting dialogue and use of objects found in the pockets of Lambertís quilt slows down the flow and when Lambert sings "Angel Boy" (a sentimental ballad about Mary's son), the fourth of twelve songs on the DVD, the momentum dies. It does pick up again, but it was too late for my children who had lost interest. Working with a pre-recorded soundtrack is a challenge in itself, no room for missteps or, on the contrary, for exciting spontaneous moments which can occur with a live band.

      Much of the material is original (lots of work in itself) with some old standbys: "Five in the Bed" - which has musical references to "Rule Britannia" and ends with "I've got this whole mattress to myself" to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in his Hands" a trick of Joe Scruggs' - and, for me, the highlight, a reworking of the traditional "Brush your Teeth." Other songs, such as the one about the TV remote control or one about Grandpa losing his teeth in the toilet, are quite amusing but are more for the adults in the audience.

      The audience enjoys the sing and dance alongs but misses out on some of the jokes, most notably the one introducing the belly button song.

      The dramatization aimed at kids had some very fun and educationally interesting moments. When they showed the children having snacks, I was surprised to see candy bars and gummy worms as part of the buffet, given the trend towards increased numbers of children with Type 2 diabetes.

      The informational sections were of interest to me, and I am sure even for parents who may know the information it is always nice to hear it again. Jo-Ann Koster, R.N., is a competent information source for these segments.

      The DVD is sponsored in part by LifeScan Canada Ltd., makers of products for those with diabetes including blood sugar monitoring devices and insulin pumps, both featured in the information segments of the DVD.

      I am not sure who is the intended market for the DVD as there are many different pieces, but, as the mother of a child with a nut allergy, I am all for getting health and dietary safety information into the hands of the general public.

      The DVD also comes with French or Spanish subtitles - another tremendous amount of work - but most of the children (in the age category for this DVD) would be unable to read the subtitles.

      After all that work on the DVD, Lambert produced a CD! I felt the CD worked better. The pacing was obviously given a lot of thought. It is divided into three sections: "Play Time", "Story Time" and "Sleep Time". Although we did find ourselves losing interest in "Sleep Time", this portion could be very successfully used by families who like to send their children off to bed with lullabies to listen to.

      Mary Lambert is very competent musically, is very sincere and has a variety of styles for her audience.

      Without reservation, I can say that the CD would be a welcome addition to library collections. The DVD, in my opinion is trying to be too many things to too many people.

CD - Recommended.

DVD - Recommended with reservations.

Ruth Scales McMahon, who hold a Bachelor's degree in Music, is a professional children's librarian and mother of two young children in Lethbridge, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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