Bear In The Big Blue House
Walt Disney Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/05/1999
My daughter is not very pleased with me right now.
You see, not long ago I received a review copy of Songs From Jim Henson's Bear In The Big Blue House in the mail. My 2-1/2-year-old likes Bear In The Big Blue House. We listened to it together; instead of reviewing it on my thousand-dollar stereo system, we pumped it through her Fisher-Price cassette recorder (a birthday gift from Grandpa Thelen last year).
The problem is that she wants the tape - and can't have it until Daddy finishes writing the review. And the quality of the music on this album is so good that... well, I gotta be honest, I'm having difficulties giving it up.
The plot of the show (which I've not seen - gimme a break, it's on while I'm at my real job) is simple: our hero, a seven-foot-tall bear interacts with his friends (Tutter the mouse, Pip & Pop the otters, Treelo the lemur, Ojo the little girl bear and Luna the moon) in and around his big blue house. During the show, Bear and his friends learn valuable lessons about such subjects as brushing your teeth, growing up, love, making mistakes and friendship.
This is all great for the toddlers, sure, but the music is just incredible. Almost everything that comes out of the Muppets camp has some level of enjoyment even for the adults; I can't tell you how many times I'll find myself singing a song from Sesame Street that I saw with my daughter the night before - and then I can't get it out of my head.
Thing is, in the case of the tracks on Songs From Jim Henson's Bear In The Big Blue House, you won't want to get them out of your head. All the songs are short enough to keep the toddler's attention while making the adult wish they were longer. Songs like "Dear Grandma," "Look At You Now," "Great To Be At Home" and "Take Time To Smell The Cheese" are infectiously charming - and, to the adult, even touching.
Admittedly, my daughter ended up going to her table to play with Play-Doh while we listened to this, but she kept saying things like, "Bear," "Big Blue House," and "It's good." (Needless to say, it will be a while before she does any real reviews for us.) But she did seem to enjoy the music; there were even times that she didn't make a sound as the tape played. I've only seen her do that once when music was involved - and that was to my beat-up 45 of Eddie Harris's "Children's Song".
So why do I feel like I want to keep Songs From Jim Henson's Bear In The Big Blue House for myself? It's just that the music on this tape is so wonderfully performed and well-written that it is a tape that will hold up for many listenings, no matter what your age is.
Don't worry, I'll still give this tape to my daughter now that the review is written - but she shouldn't be surprised if she finds Daddy borrowing it from time to time. Hey, fair's fair - she used to take all my Frank Zappa CDs out of the rack when she was a baby, so she owes me.