Have kids? Tired of hearing the usual irritating cheesy keyboard arrangements by the likes of tweenies, postman pat etc?.. Is the soundtrack to your kids playtime becoming unbearable?…
Enough is enough, throw away the junkfood kids musak and put on our new childrens’ album, “Toybox” !
The album was created by myself and Sophie Barker (of Zero 7) as the second part of our Rainbow Collections series of quality music for children. Volume 1 ‘Lullaby’ was released a few years ago and has become a word of mouth success amongst children & grownups alike (I even heard of an old couple who play it nightly to their dogs)
If you’re familiar with Lullaby, you’ll get the idea.. Again we tried to re-imagine these classic songs which have been ‘lost’ over the years, spoiled by countless awful arrangements, and for once make music of quality for children (and the grown ups around them).
It’s a record for daytime, a soundtrack for playtime, featuring all the classic fun kids songs from Grand Old Duke Of York to Humpty Dumpty.. And as they’re the traditional nursery rhymes and childrens songs, here’s also some history, english language and all round education your kids (and you!) might pick up along the way..
Find out more and hear clips etc at : www.therainbowcollections.com
Here are a few reviews of the album -
And some more..
What would you say if you got offered the chance to review a kids CD which featured the voice of Sophie Barker from Zero Seven and producer KK who has worked with Bjork and Brian Eno? It’s a no brainer, for any of you in your mid thirties at least. Zero Seven provided the soundtrack to my trip across Australia, and they still provide the soundtrack to much of my life now. I jumped at the chance and I am really glad I did.
Toybox, the second CD from Rainbow Collections is great. Despite the fact that its a selection of classic nursery rhymes it is so different to any other selection of nursery rhymes you will ever hear. It’s a brilliant CD, without a doubt the absolute best kids nursery rhyme CD that I have EVER heard. It really is really really really good. There are a few songs that I would actually chose to listen to it alone without the kids. A bit like Tim Burton meets nursery rhymes. Not only is is a refreshing change to hear a voice that you actually recognise signing nursery rhymes, but also to get a nursery rhyme CD which is just so well produced.
Music is one of the joy’s of my life and I have to admit I have found it a challenge to find music which isn’t adult for the kids to enjoy with me. We have regular music and singing sessions with shakers, drums and even a ukulele. We have our infamous bedtime disco’s and its a pleasure to encourage the children to sing along. Apparently all these things are very important for child development.
This is a properly produced, enjoyable, well thought out CD of children’s songs and nursery rhymes. It is a pleasure to listen to it with the children and I am really grateful for it. I am going to buy the first CD ‘Lullaby’ and I cannot recommend this one highly enough. The CD comes in its own little book with all the words and lovely illustrations. If you would like to buy it you can get hold of it
Toybox by The Rainbow Collections
What They Say: Our inspiration for creating Toybox was to give children and parents the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful children’s classics that have been ‘lost’ over the years to synthesised arrangements. The incredible response to Lullaby showed us just how much parents are crying out for real music to listen to and enjoy with their children. With Toybox, we wanted to create a fun and uplifting collection of music for playtime – something that mums, dads and children could listen to again and again and get genuine pleasure from.
What We Say: Tilly and Jasper love music… Jasper especially. He immediately bounces along whenever he hears anything tuneful and even enjoys it when I sing to him! I was so excited to be sent this CD to review and put it on as soon as it arrived.
I have previously been put off buying music specifically for the children because it usually makes me grit my teeth and want to turn it off within seconds. Toybox is completely the opposite. The music is beautiful… a collection of classic nursery rhymes and children’s songs that have been arranged with modern twist by the creative geniuses of Sophie Barker (singer of Zero 7 fame) and KK (producer who has worked with many famous artists of the likes of Bjork, Dido and Brian Eno). Just knowing this alone made me want to listen to the CD!
It is a fab CD… there are lots of old familiars on there that I’ve been singing along to, and now I can only hear these new versions in my head whenever I think of them. My particular favourites are Ring A Ring O’ Roses and Hey Diddle Diddle.
We’ve also had Lullaby on every night too… another beautiful CD full of beautifully arranged lullabies and songs perfect for bedtime.
The Verdict: 5/5… Love, love, love it! I’ll definitely be getting the next album, Snowflake, which is out at the beginning of November.
The Supplier: Toybox and the other albums by The Rainbow Collections can be found on Amazon and Play.com
Toybox – album review
From an early age Harriet has loved music, so the Toybox CD was a big hit with her! The CD has a range of nursery rhymes, to suit any mood or time of day and is a great bonus if I fancy half an hour of rest – as I can sit and sing with Harriet, while she giggles and sings along too.
Harriet especially enjoys Old Macdonald and The Grand Old Duke of York, which were on repeat on the five hour car journey we took to Cornwall recently. The Toybox CD is a great distraction for tired or grumpy babies too…!
The full Toybox track listing is:
* Humpty Dumpty?* Ring A Ring O’Roses?* Old Macdonald?* If You’re Happy And You KNow It?* Hickory Dickory Dock?* I’m A Little Teapot?* 1,2,3,4,5 (Once I Caught A Fish Alive)?* Teddy Bears Picnic?* The Grand Old Duke Of York?* Ten Green Bottles?* Hey Diddle Diddle?* London Bridge?* This Old Man?* It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
All these classic nursery rhymes included on Toybox showcase the unique and enchanting sound created by the Grammy nominated voice of Zero 7, Sophie Barker and KK (Producer for Bjork, Dido & Brian Eno). The sound is great for adults too – however many times you listen to it!
The album is beautifully packaged, and comes with a hardbacked book crammed full of colourful fun illustrations and lyrics, so you can sing-a-long
Weekend review: Toybox
Ez and Fonz have always been big music fans, so when I was asked if we would like to review a new album of classic children’s songs and nursery rhymes, I jumped at the chance.
Toybox is the second part of a series of albums for kids, created by The Rainbow Collections – singer Sophie Barker from Zero 7, and successful producer KK. The album includes songs such as ‘Old Macdonald’, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, and ‘The Grand Old Duke Of York’ (one of our all-time favourites). Sophie and KK have produced their own unique and modern take on the original classics, without making the tunes unrecognisable, and there are some fantastic rhythms – I love the calypso-style version of ‘If You’re Happy And You Know It’. The album’s been a big hit with the babies, and it’s the sort of thing I don’t mind having playing, because it’s actually very pleasant to listen to!
Family and parenting expert Jenni Trent Hughes has shared some top tips to help parents get the most our of music and playtime with their children:
• Play music and sing daily and as often as possible?Make instruments out of household items. An empty plastic bottle and a handful of beans; a wooden spoon and the lid of a pan. The more imaginative, the better?Act out the songs with wild exaggerated gestures. Children love laughing at their parents?Use music to enhance the child’s mood. Sitting on the sofa, having a cuddle and ‘singing along with mummy’ is a memory that will be treasured forever?Write songs about pets, siblings, food and favourite toys – anything that will expand a child’s imagination, vocabulary and knowledge base.
Toybox is available now from Amazon.co.uk, Play.com and HMV.
Here’s just a sample of what Amazon customers had to say about our first Rainbow Collections album ‘Lullaby’…
“I love this CD – it is absolutely fab. My mum bought this for my children and I love it. The songs are just lovely and soothing and we listen to it every night. One of the best CDs for lullabies and I would definitely recommend it.”
“Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! What a great collection for children and amazingly grown ups will love listening too. Beautiful arrangements and the chill out style make it unlike any other nursery rhyme CD I’ve heard before and a lot easier on the ear for us adults who have to listen along. You might even find yourself listening when the kids are already asleep! I will probably be buying this for anyone I know who has a baby now! Very highly recommended.”
“Arguably the best CD I own. We were bought this when our baby was born as a present and it has been indispensable. I have heard it every night for seven months and am still not bored. It is calming and gentle and I now cannot imagine life without it!”
“Just as sweet as when Mum sang them. Real instruments give an unimitable touch. My Husband and I simply fell asleep when we first listened to the album !”
“Lovely to listen to, for children AND parents… As a parent it’s easy to get sick of listening to the same old CDs over and over especially awful ones made with synthetic music. This is totally different, she has a beautiful voice and is accompanied by ‘real’ music. Really recommended. Helps my 4 yr old drift off to sleep.”
“Intelligent, thoughtful chill-out style harmonizations of well-known children’s songs, along with some spoken verses to add variety. These spoken tracks did cause my daughter’s eyes to pop open again when we first listened to the CD to send her to sleep, but I’ve now loaded a few of the most sleep-inducing tracks onto my Ipod and these send my daughter to sleep (and nearly myself too!) every night.”
“Not your average rubbish kids CD. All the tracks have real instruments like guitar and harp and flute and the voice is soft and nice to listen to. An adult would find this relaxing, not annoying.”
“I think this cd is lovely to listen to. Our 2 year old daughter was a nightmare to put to bed and I bought this as a last resort hoping it would work and from the first night of playing it she just laid down and went to sleep, calm and happy, listening to the lady’s soft soothing voice singing songs like Twinkle Twinkle and Somewhere Over The Rainbow. It is almost hypnotic by the end you just can’t help but feel relaxed listening to it. If you are buying it for the same reason I did then definately give it a try because bedtime for us is now a much more relaxed and enjoyable experience and I never thought I would be saying that!”
“This album is fantastic! so soothing and relaxing. The vocals are beautiful and very atmospheric. Gorgeousness.”
“The Perfect Sleeptight CD. A great buy for anyone with kids, or even just for yourself. The perfect chillout and relax music, it sent the kids to sleep in the back of the car and left us totally tranquil. As a secondary school teacher I have also known people use it to calm a room in no time. Really good arrangements of some well known lullabies that you never get tired of.”
“I cannot recommend this CD enough to all those with children who find it hard to relax, and I use the term “Children” loosely.. Enjoy and do not fight the urge, when it comes, to sing along.”
“The Perfect Bedtime Album for Kids. As a parent I’ve bought loads of bedtime music for my kids and they all drive me nuts with their irritating & twee arrangements. This album is world away from that. Sophie Barker’s soothing voice is perfect & the musical arrangements are mellow & even help sending me to sleep! I have a 1 year old boy and 3 year old girl and this album works perfectly for both. It makes them instantly calm and sends them to sleep really quickly. Steer clear of all the other dreadful nursey rhyme albums. For the sake of your own sanity, get this one!”
“I discovered this album about 5 months ago and it has worked pure magic on my little 18 month old son. He loves it and as soon as I put it on he knows it’s time to sleep (even in the afternoon) and calmly lies down and within moments is out for the count. Best of all I love it! Most children’s music is far to ‘tinkle plonk’ and drives me round the bend. My only gripe is I was looking for another cd as i dont want to be 100% reliant on only one cd and i havent’ found anything else that comes close!”
“I can’t recommend this CD enough. Ever since I’ve been using it, my daughter goes down for her naps and for bedtime in a completely different state of mind. Bedtime is no longer a struggle!! The soothing tones have helped us establish a calm and enjoyable bedtime routine, where previously we had come to dread bedtime. This CD of what we call her ‘sleepy songs’ has become indispensable in our household, and is really pleasant to listen to for us adults too.”
“Great C.D. worry that I like it more than kids. Only downside is that I played it in the car to them and I almost fell asleep at the wheel. Really good album of children’s songs beautifully sung – wish these people would do more (have they?) Much better than a lot of the amateur night tosh that is available!”
“My sister gave this CD to my kids for Christmas. I just love it and so do my kids. They want to listen to it at naptime and bedtime – so it stays in the cd player all the time. I usually lie down with them at naptime and love listening to it. It is so relaxing and actually puts me to sleep. Sophie has a beautiful voice and the harp in the background is heavenly!”
“THIS IS A BEAUTIFULLY DONE, RELAXING CLEARLY SUNG CD. I WOULD AGREE WITH ALL THE POSITIVES PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN ABOUT THIS ALBUM AND ADD THAT AS A SCOTTISH MUM I FOUND THE ACCENT GENTLE AND SOOTHING UNLIKE SOME OTHERS OUT THERE.
MY LITTLE GIRL FALLS ASLEEP TO IT EVERY NIGHT AND I AM AMAZED THAT AT 2 YEARS OLD SHE CAN SING LOTS OF THE SONGS ON IT.
“A unique calming oasis of loveliness in a vast desert of scary/irritating/terrible lullaby CDs. If you’re a fan of chill out, and specifically Zero 7, this CD should appeal. And it has a lyrics booklet too, which is great because even though I can’t sing, my babies love it when I join in :)”
“I downloaded this collection of lullabies for my two month old baby to help her sleep. It is a lovely collection of classic lullabies, sung by a soothing British female singer. We often play the lullabies at bathtime and sing along! The only downside of the collection is that there are one or two nursery rhymes spoken randomly between the lullabies and these are quite abrupt and wake up our sleepy baby! Therefore, i would advise to remove these tracks if you want to use the collection to send a little one to sleep!”
“My baby loves this CD and I can play it in the car or bedroom. Very soothing and relaxing. Has lullabys you can hum along to”
“i have an 18 month old who ALWAYS cried before going off to sleep at night – sometimes for 2 minutes, sometimes for 20. since playing this cd softly as she gets ready for bed – starting just 8-9 days ago…she hasnt cried once! The habit is broken! hooray! i was worried the cd would be irritating – as so many of them are – but it is just gentle with a womans soft voice both singing and narrating. i would recommend this to any parent who would enjoy a calmer bedtime experience!”
“I bought this on the other recommendations and was not disappointed, bought for 18 month old – but would be good for older or younger. Soothing is the appropriate description and works a treat. All the old favourites and the final track is simply wonderful, works in bed and car – drivers beware!”
“I play this cd for my daughter every night. It relaxes her and she falls asleep with it very quickly (don’t think she’s ever heard the last few songs…). The voice of Sophie combined with the mellow music makes this a very soothing cd. I’d recommend it to everyone!!!”
“This is the second time I have bought this cd. The reason? We have worn it out! My baby boy has loved it as have his Mummy and Daddy. Amazing, perfection and an absolute must buy for the night time routine.”
“I bought this for my grandchildren and the feed back I’ve been given is excellent. My 2 year old grandson goes to sleep much sooner when listening to this so it has to be great! He’s not easy to put to bed and I bought this hoping it would help and it has.”
“This CD is wonderfully soothing and calming not just for babies and small children but for adults too. A great collection of songs that we all know and love with great music to go with it. A great asset for the bedroom to get the little ones to sleep and one of those cds you don’t mind having in the background in the car or anywhere for that matter unlike some of the others which can be quite annoying sometimes! A fantastic buy would recommend to anyone with young children.”
“I just wanted to add to the list of favourable feedbacks just how lovely this album is. If you are looking for a simply beautiful music cd to play to your little cherubs then this is one not to be missed. Quite simply, you will never regret making this purchase, and no, I am not on commission! Just wanted to pass on this little piece of ‘wonderfulness!'”
“We wanted something that wouldn’t great with us while soothing our baby who had forgotten how to fall asleep herself, and this is just the job. Knowing Sophie Barker’s voice from Zero 7 was enough incentive to buy this, and the songs do not disappoint. A couple (the names escape me now – it could be Baa Baa Black Sheep) has an almost epic instrumental far beyond the nursery rhyme we all know. Basically, it’s all good – great soothing voice and excellent musical accompaniment. Oh, and it calms down our baby girl who loves it too! Recommended.”
“I bought this for my little girl when she was approx 6months old – have played it nearly every night for nearly 5 months and still not fed up with hearing it! Good collection of songs and nicely put together. Would definately recommend this to anyone looking for a bedtime cd for their little one.”
“I’ve struggled to settle my 10 week old daughter for weeks but this cd is a miracle. She falls asleep within 3 or 4 songs – and so do I!! Really lovely music and gentle voice – not your typical lullaby CD. It’s like chillout music for babies! I think I enjoy it as much as my baby. I’d highly reccommend it to any new parents – and have done already!”
“My 14-week old daughter and I listen to this every single evening as I bathe her and feed her to sleep. It is very soothing and has some beautiful songs on it that you wouldn’t find on other nursery rhyme CDs.”
“I’m not sure I can say anything that hasn’t already been said about this lovely CD. The music is spellbinding and sends me and my baby off to sleep during her last feed before bed! Worth every penny and I will definitely be buying more for pregnant friends. Highly recommended!”
“We have used this as part of our bedtime routine since our son was 6weeks old. He is now 8months and he still loves it.Its a job for me too stay awake to be honest during the goodnight feed its that good.?Ive bought 3 so far as presents and they are all going strong! ”
“Excellent service (arrived two days earlier) and CD which includes a book with the lyrics. Heard it twice myself and both times almost fell asleep towards the last couple of songs! It also includes some read nursery rhymes! Very complete and I will definitely be buying the second volume!”
“The strength of this CD is in the beautiful arrangements, each lullaby is a refreshing retake on the versions we had heard before. Our baby boy is only just starting out with the CD but even in this short space of time we had already got fed up of several other nursery music CDs. Its a brilliant collection of songs that payoff time and again. Beautiful music for our beautiful boy, highly recommended. ”
“This CD is genius. We played it before putting our little boy to bed at 7pm, every night from when he was born. He’s now 9 months old and it never fails to send him to sleep. I’ve heard it hundreds of time and still find it lovely. Highly recommended.”
“Both my baby boy & myself for that matter, enjoy this CD very much. It never fails to send him off to sleep. The singer has a lovely voice that doesn’t get on your nerves like other CD’s do after a while. I would highly recommend it to any parent.”
“We use this CD every night as part of our little one’s bedtime routine. We bought it based upon the Amazon reviews and haven’t been disappointed. My husband is notoriously critical and cynical, yet he enjoys this CD – we both find the singing very relaxing and the musical arrangements are well put together. The music is not invasive or annoying despite the fact we have now listened to it approx 40 times. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the production of it. Our little one is instantly soothed by it. She cries as we take her clothes off for the bath, but as soon as Twinkle Twinkle starts…she quietens down. Amazing.?AFter little one’s bath, I also have a bath whilst my husband does the last feed of the day, and I actually enjoy listening to this as I have a nice relaxing soak! – how many children’s music CDs can you say that about?! A great product and highly recommended to use in your child’s wind-down. Good for parents too ”
“This CD is wonderfull. I’ve had the CD for nearly a year now and my daughter is now approaching her 2nd birthday. I play it every night as part of her bedtime routine. The vocals are beautiful and the songs very endearing – row your boat being my absolute favourite. I have listened to it countless times, often falling asleep to it myself on the floor in my daughter’s bedroom! She loves it to and lunges for the CD at bedtime and says ‘mucis’ (‘music’ to her!!) I would recommend this to anyone and am going to buy a copy for my friend who’s just about to have her 1st baby. ”
“I’m exceptionally pleased with this purchase. The CD is very enjoyable and for those Mums and Dads who don’t know many nursery rhymes the book that comes with it lists all the words which is just perfect.”
“Our baby boy is only 4 months, but this CD helps us all to fall asleep ! Great selection of songs, perfectly arranged and beautifully sung – very very soothing vocals and musical arrangement. I am sure this CD will get lots & lots of use in the years ahead. As some reviewers have mentioned, 1 or 2 of the “voiced” lullabies are a bit jaring and do not sit quite so easily on this CD as the vast majority of the tracks. However, this reason is not enough to not recommend this CD. Usually Baby and I are fast asleep by the time the last track ends. Priceless !”
“I felt I must write a review as I have been playing this CD to my 16 week old baby boy, since he was about 4 weeks old. I absolutely love Sophie Barkers voice (if your a fan of Zero 7 then you’ll love this CD) and the lullabies are just beautifully sung. It is part of his bed time routine and we are lucky if we get to Silent Night…”
“This CD is just the most gorgeous, relaxing and chilled music for babies and children. Sung by the girl from zero 7, it’s a ‘cool’ alternative to some of the cheesy and really annoying CD’s for kids out there. You can play this over and over, and never get at all annoyed! It’s a brilliant present for new babies – makes a change from clothes! I buy these in bulk and post them off to friends whenever a new baby arrives. The dads also love it – my husband is really into his music, and he loves this. Only problem is, it’s far more likely to send you to sleep than your baby…”
Lullaby, Toybox and Snowflake are out now.