Wild multi-colored costumes and set design. Elaborate staging. Psychedelic lyrics. Yup, it's the San Francisco music scene, even for children's music. The Sippy Cups were (and still are) a fixture and major attraction. The heart (or perhaps the "T" cup) was female singer "Sippy" Alison Faith Levy, who is now striking out on her own as a solo kindie artist.
Levy is a musical jack-of-all-trades. She's been an adult solo artist, part of a band (The Loud Family), part of a duo (McCabe and Mrs. Miller), and part of a kid's group. With WORLD OF WONDER, she opens another chapter of her career.
Levy's CD starts as a rock album for kids. "Like a Spinning Top" and "Detours" will get your kids on their feet and jumping around. "I Love the Rain" would not be out of place on any Laurie Berkner CD. Next comes the Phil Spector/Wall of Sound version of "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Levy pays impressive homage to "And Then He Kissed Me" and a children's classic at the same time.
"Three Tulips" and "Eye of the Tornado" follow, demonstrating Levy's deft keyboard playing and lyrics:
In the eye of the tornado
There's a gentle place to rest
With the friends that I like best
And we're having tea and cakes
And watching boats sailing on the lake
And it's where I want to be
In the eye of the tornado is the place for me.
"Baby Anteater" and "I Had a Rooster" allow Levy to check off the animal songs that invariably seem to populate every children's CD that comes across my desk these days. I remain ambivalent but hey, the kids truly like them (the songs and the animals).
The title track ("World of Wonder") talks about the everyday miracles contained inside grains of sand and other small things (i.e., the world of wonder is right before your eyes). Not a bad sentiment when you want to train kids to be observant and spend time outside instead of playing videogames, watching TV, or naval-gazing.
The CD winds down with "One More Cupcake," a plea that every child invokes to stretch the day. Five more, four more, any amount to keep the fun happening. "It's never enough for me," Levy sings, and that's true for this too-short CD. It's a lot of fun and not just in a San Francisco way.