Emily S. from STOCKTON, CA Reviewed on 11/22/2012...
This is a special-interest CD that obviously has little or no mass-market appeal, but it's a wonderful collection of exactly what the title states: songs in French for children. I sang along as a child without knowing the meaning, and I've been complimented on my accent as an adult. Who knows for sure, but I think there was a connection. There are no English versions included.
One of the greatest French-language children's albums ever!
"This album was to my Mother Goose years (early 50's) what The Beatles'"Sergeant Pepper" was to the sixties: a landmark. It was produced by Columbia Records for the US Market and used an unlikely quintet: Les Quatre Barbus, a group of four existentialist-type bearded lads who opened for the likes of Boris Vian and Juliette Greco in the heady days of the St-Germain-des-Pres chansonniers, and Lucienne Vernay, a soft-spoken, smoky-voiced chanteuse. The result was dynamite and the songs used were very eclectic. There is one song by surrealist cult-figure Robert Desnos (absurdist but childlike, music by Joseph Kosma) and one song by perennial bohemian Georges Brassens (absurdist and cynical, but it is about the death of a female duck so it does qualify as a children's song). There are two translated American songs (Three Little Pigs and Old MacDonald Had a Farm). All the other songs are a mixture of French folklore and contemporary writing. The only major children's masterpiece of the era that is missing from the collection is "Une chanson douce" by Henri Salvador, but that's another story and he is also represented on this collection... The interpretation is fresh, the songs being handled by Lucienne alone when they are sentimental, Lucienne and the boys when they are folkloric and the boys alone when they are rowdy. What makes this album such a success is the imagination displayed in the production, recording techniques and orchestrations. There is always something mysterious, unexpected or simply wonderful going on in the background to make the stories engaging and the songs are not only sung, they are acted with the greatest of skill. It is a delight to hear those songs over and over again and they grow in profundity, significance and polish as you grow older (and you compare them to the usual caca that passes for children's entertainment these days). I will never know what American children of the 50's made of these songs (there was no English lyrics sheet enclosed, only liner notes) but I do know that as a French-speaking child in pre-Quiet Revolution Quebec, growing up in a sea of English at the time, it was a blessing. It should be noted that this album is still sold in France, 50 years later, under its English title. [...]"
Songs in French for Children
Benoit Racine | 12/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very charming. The singing is clear and the singers add cute sounds in the background (le petit train has train sounds in the song). My only negative comment is that no written lyrics came with the CD. I speak French well, but am not a native French speaker so have difficulty gleaning the words from the songs alone. My 3 year old daughter really likes the songs and keeps asking me for the words in English, and it is frustrating not to be able to provide them immediately. I'm sure I can figure them out with some work, though. If lyrics had been provided with the CD I would have given this CD 5 stars. The price was right too!"
Best Silly Songs for Tots
Viv Barker | New Jersey | 05/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These songs are universally appealing to the 2 - 6 y.o. age group to whom I teach French. The arrangements are clear, sparkling, and very entertaining. The gregarious spirit of the album draws kids into repeating and singing along with little concern for content. As they become more interested and start asking questions, parents can find lyrics, and in some cases history, of these classic songs by entering titles into an international search engine."
Songs likely to entertain anybody
Gabriele Stellmacher | USA | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The songs are sung by adult singers, not a children's choir, and the voices are beautiful. That's why I can use the CD for beginning learners of French in a college classroom. The songs are not just sung, one after the other. They are also a little bit acted out, with the interjection of voices and animal sounds that can be funny, instead of embarassing, to young adults. The CD is not just kids singing children's songs. It has more surprises, is more playful, a bit funny, so that kids and adults can enjoy it. Good selection of songs. Nothing primitive or basic about it."
Germaine de Stael | Florida, USA | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so glad I bought this and will buy it as gifts for others. The musical arrangements are lovely (to mother, young child, and baby) and Lucienne Vernay has such a beautiful, clean and simple voice. What a delight to listen to."