Disney Babies - Playtime
Walt Disney Records, 1991
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/04/1998
There is something that happens to almost every adult who finds themselves in the roles of being a parent: we end up speaking and listening to "gibberish." For example: I've got a Bachelor's degree in journalism with a business minor, and writing has been my profession for well over a decade now. I've listened to most forms of music, and have learned to appreciate something in each of them. But ever since my daughter arrived on the scene in 1996, I find myself sitting in the office, singing a song from Sesame Street, when I'm jolted back to reality. "Where did that come from?"
The kids know it: they've got us locked into their musical mindframe. Therefore, don't be surprised if you find yourself singing songs from the recently re-released Disney Babies - Playtime collection, which features 20 songs that are geared towards the young 'uns, all the while teaching them some basic skills.
One criticism off the bat, though: It would have been nice had Disney issued a "parent's guide" for some of these songs and dances. I mean, I'm young enough to still remember how some of these hand-plays go, such as "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, And Toes" - and I've watched The Many Adventures Of Winnie-The-Pooh enough to know how "Up, Down, And Touch The Ground" is acted out. But some of these, like "Here's A Ball For Baby" and "Little Cowpoke," are new to me, and having some kind of diagram to tell me what I'm supposed to do with my child would have been helpful.
That said, the songs themselves (at least one of which I recognized from another Disney set my daughter received as a gift) are perky and pleasant enough to please the kids, while they're sure to burrow into the brains of the parents -- especially after the kids have acted out the songs hundreds of times.
It's one thing for me -- the overweight, greying music critic -- to make comments on this disc. But in the end, I'm not the one this is targeted for. We need a test subject to see how addictive this disc really is. Enter the picture: baby Pierce. (In a sense, this isn't fair to my daughter; after all, just yesterday she was happily bopping along to the strains of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" as Daddy played his electric guitar to it.What can I say; she's advanced for her age.)
Unfortunately, my daughter is not fond of being a guinea pig for Daddy's musical experiments. No sooner had I put on "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (one of the few I can do the handplay for), when my daughter buried her head in the carpet and started screaming, "No, no, no!" I tried again; this time, she bolted for her room in tears - true story. (Not two hours later, she was dancing with me as we listened to Louis Prima -- go figure.) So much for the Dr. Jeckyll experiment; I'm left to speculate on how I think your kids will react to this album.
On the strength of the music, I think that Disney Babies -- Playtime will appeal to the young kids (between the ages of 3 and 6); these are songs that they can happily bounce around to and sing along with. But while this is a nice diversion for the kiddies, the end goal is for the parents to be part of the experience, and as long as the parents know how to do many of the hand gestures, then both parents and children should consider this to be a lot of fun.
If you find yourself sitting at work, and all of a sudden, you start humming "Hickory Dickory Dock," take comfort that you're in good company with many other parents. But while Disney Babies - Playtime is meant for the family to share, leave no doubt that this is a disc for the kids.