Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)


colour, musical (rock opera) drama
released: 1973
director: Norman Jewison
starring: Ted Neely, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman
rated: G   (PG would be more accurate, due to the violence – see below.)
length: 1 hr, 48 min

age: 12+

interests: musicals, rock music, theatre, religion, history



Bud, Not Buddy



Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Age: 9+

Interests: history, American history, music, jazz, the Great Depression, racism, orphans More

Out of the Dust



Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse

Age: 10 +

Interests: poetry, history, American history, the Great Depression, farming, death and grief, music


The Lark on the Wing



The Lark on the Wing

by Elfrida Vipont

Age: 11+

Interests: music, religion, romance, coming of age stories More





by Victor G. Ambrus

Age: 3+

Interests: music, circus, animals


Adam of the Road

Adam of the Road


Adam of the Road

by Elizabeth Janet Gray (aka Elizabeth Gray Vining)

Age: 8+ (read to); 9+ (independent reading)

Interests: history, medieval times, British history, knights, castles, dogs, travel, adventure


Fantasia (1940)

Fantasia (film)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Released: 1940

Rated: G

Length: 120 – 124 min. (varies depending on what version you have)

Age: some parts 3+, others 5+ (see below)  Commonsense Media sez: 6 +

Scary Factor: Mickey attacks renegade broom with an axe and savagely chops it to bits; battle to the death between two dinosaurs; a gigantic devil rises over a mountain commanding a host of demons, the dead rise from their graves

Also: some modest (dare I say artful) nudity among fairies and mythological creatures; much wine drunk by very tipsy god Bacchus

Interests: classical music, fairies, mythology, dinosaurs, ballet

Next: the movie Fantasia 2000; live symphony concerts for children; Nutcracker ballet live or movie version

How to Be a Musical Family (and Why You Should)

I’m linking here to a terrific bit of advice, 10 Ways to Be a Musical Family by Nancy Salwen. Nancy runs workshops for kids and adults and her focus seems to be on helping non-musical adults bring music into their homes for their kids.

One aspect of family music-making that I think is very important is that your children get to see you – the infallible grownup – learning, fumbling a bit, making mistakes. Not always hitting the right note but persevering and having fun along the way. If we jump in like this we get to model what we’re always telling them to do in their classrooms and extracurriculars: don’t worry about not being good right away, have fun, keep learning, keep trying, and keep practicing.

Too often we stop trying new things as we get older, and stick to activities that we’re already good at. Our kids only see us playing sports or making art or playing instruments that we have some proficiency at. They may conclude that we never have difficulty with things like they do*, and this could feed their frustration when they attempt new activities with a significant learning curve.

Personally, I think every parent should take up a brand new musical instrument or difficult sport when their child hits about age six or seven, and is coping with new challenges daily!

I also think there is value in demonstrating the enjoyment of being an amateur at something. Just because a person doesn’t have Broadway-calibre talent doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy singing or dancing. These days any interest in the arts for the young seems inextricably linked to a pursuit of excellence and stardom – winning competitions and clawing your way to the top. It’s always valuable to re-emphasize the fun, camaraderie and joy of making music.

To put my money where my mouth is… we’ve been in our new house for almost a month now, and this afternoon I WILL unpack and assemble my looooong neglected drum kit, which I am spectacularly inept at playing. Woo hoo!

not my drum kit


* Of course I’m talking here about the younger years, pre-adolescence. Once our kids hit twelve or thirteen they know for a fact that we can’t do anything right.

Sing a song. Seriously. Right now!

Here’s an interesting article about the many benefits of singing: “It sounds and feels good” by Hema Vijay.

What particularly interested me was how “MOP” performs –

In his concerts, he simplifies a classical song, breaking it up into phrases, so that even lay persons can pick up the melody and sing it.

I would love to go to a concert like that!

As a related tidbit, when my daughter was a mere baby I remember singing everything as I carried her around, ie. “Now we’re going downstairs” or “Oh the phone is ringing” etc. Now I’m thinking it was doing me as much good as it was entertaining her. (Or maybe I’m overestimating the entertainment properties of my voice…)

Always Room for One More


Always Room for One More

retold by Sorche Nic Leodhas

illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian

24 pp.

Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965

Age: 5+

Interests: Scotland, folksongs, poetry, hospitality/generosity


Previous Older Entries

All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.