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River Records, 1985. Phonodisc. 1-12", 33Vjrpm, stereo. $10.98. Includes lyrics. Distributed by River Records, 3191 Springford Ave., Richmond, B.C., V7E 1T8. #RR 1005

K-Grade 6
Reviewed by Christine Buchanan

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Peanut Butter Pie, the first record by Gale Salmond and Faye Mulder, contains songs drawn from the "puppet musicales" that the pair perform in public schools for classes from kindergarten to grade six under the professional name, "Sam'n Molly and the Puppet Trolley." Some of their puppet performers sing along with them or help introduce the songs in a variety of accents and voices.

All the songs are new (all written by Faye, except for two by Gayle) and are enjoyable attractive pieces based on familiar times and events of childhood; walking to school, feeling shy, experiencing nature, going to bed, and so on. After hearing so much of the wonderful, but nevertheless frequently heard, tried and true material reworked by other singers, it is rewarding to have a collection of completely fresh children's music. The songs are well constructed, with a good balance of repetition and variation, chorus and verse, to facilitate joining in and singing along. The musical interpretation is lively (often with an extremely pronounced beat) with quieter songs where appropriate. The singers are pleasant to listen to and often sing in a melodious harmony. I sometimes found the puppet voices indistinct, and the level of sound between the voices and music out of balance.

Although the words are included (with several minor variations from the sung versions), no music, guitar, or autoharp chords, or suggestions for accompanying activities are included. This lack is to be regretted, as I can imagine teachers wanting to use this record to support themes and different music programs in their classes. One senses that the two authors of this record have a great deal of creative energy, and it would have been valuable to have ideas for using these songs written from their unique viewpoint as musical puppeteers. Sharon, Lois and Bram, Eric Nagler, and Jim and Rosalie have issued substantial booklets in some of their records, with music and many different ideas for using the songs. Such suggestions can act as a catalyst to the classroom teacher.

For school and public libraries who already have the current standard collection of children's music, I recommend this as a worthwhile extra title. Future recordings from this team will be worth looking out for.

Christine Buchanan, Toronto, Ont.
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