What’s On in Our Car

This post goes out to our friend Jen. She’s one of those people who’s always into something interesting. Her car’s back footwells are awash with intriguing kids’ books and toys, and she’s always got something cool on the stereo. Since she’s a children’s librarian, she knows about new children’s media before anyone else.

So, we were riding with her a few months ago and she said, “Hey, do you want to listen to the cow song?”


I imagined that the cow song was one of those kid’s songs where everyone ends up mooing in rhythm. Nope—it was “Cows,” (above) the first song on the Sandra Boynton CD Philadelphia Chickens.  Little did I know that her cow song's bovine chorus line would earworm its way into our lives, expanding our minds and transforming our relationship with our car.

The Philadelphia Chickens CD comes beautifully packaged with a book. The book’s first 32 pages contain partial lyrics and illustrations by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford, and the second half of the book has the musical notation and additional lyrics for each song. Can you see where I’m going with this? Yes! My beginning reader is happily READING along with the songs as they play. Thank you, Jen!

Boynton and Ford collaborated on four other music-and-book sets—currently, we’re rocking out to Dog Train: A Wild Ride on the Rock-and-Roll Side. Here are the other three:

  • Blue Moo: 17 Jukebox Hits From Way Back Never
  • Rhinoceros Tap: 15 Seriously Silly Songs
  • Frog Trouble: . . .  And Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs

Junior’s other favorite right now is the Schoolhouse Rock! CD box set. I don’t remember many Schoolhouse Rock episodes from my childhood, but the ones that I do remember really stand out—“Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just A Bill.” We’re doing a lot of identification of parts of words in the course of our read-aloud time now (anyone remember this gem? I thought it was from Schoolhouse Rock, but it’s actually from The Electric Company). Anyway, I bought the Schoolhouse Rock! CD box set because I thought it would reinforce what Junior was learning.

Boy, was I unprepared. Schoolhouse Rock! is AMAZING. The episodes I remembered were from the series Schoolhouse Rock’s producers did for grammar and American history. What’s been on repeat on our car, however, is Multiplication Rock! Yes, we are all voluntarily listening to songs about math—even when Junior isn’t in the car. The one you all probably remember is “Three Is a Magic Number.”


Junior’s most requested song on Multiplication Rock! is “I Got Six” (there’s something about those horns—he also loves “Verb.”) My favorite is “The Good Eleven.” Last weekend I heard him explaining the songs on Multiplication Rock! to his best friend in the back seat. Then, he passed me the Grammar Rock! CD so his friend could hear that one too.

The Schoolhouse Rock CD box set has four CDs: Multiplication Rock!, Grammar Rock!, Science Rock!, and America Rock!. For those of you with car DVD players, a DVD version of Schoolhouse Rock! is available with all 46 animations. If you do get either the CDs or the DVD, prepare yourself! Do you remember this pretty version of the preamble to the Constitution? I don’t—but now it won’t leave my head. I can’t wait to get to Science Rock!, but with the election coming up, America Rock! might replace Multiplication Rock! in heavy rotation on our car stereo.