Introducing children to music doesn't have to be a painful experience with parents putting on their child's CD and running from the room so they don't have to listen to patronizing voices singing “Hickery, Dickery Dock” to the accompaniment of dodgy keyboards. I think real music should be offered to children from the very start enabling parents and children to enjoy listening together. All the tunes on both these CDs are performed to the accompaniment of real instruments by professional musicians and the CD is produced to a high standard of audio quality.

Lullabies with Mandolins Simon Mayor and Hilary James create a musical partnership made for small children's delight and that of their parents! For those babies needing to get to sleep “Lullabies with Mandolins” offers gentle, real music that's not too cloying with a wide selection of lullabies from around the world including one of my personal favourites “Fais Do Do” (Go to sleep). New to me were the Andante from Vivaldi's Concerto for two Mandolins which entranced me, and “Raisins and Almonds” by Goldfaden, a Yiddish lullaby in a minor key unusual for the genre which really cuts the sweetness of the more typical lullabies. If you're looking for a present for a new baby this would be an unusual and welcome addition to the babygros and will hopefully last a lot longer. Musical Mystery Tour: Up in a big Balloon Hilary and Simon have a series of Musical Mystery Tour CDs but I really recommend “Up in a Big Balloon” which covers styles of music from around the world offering something for everyone. In common with the CDs which work well for many children, most of these songs have silly and memorable lyrics. “A flock of fat flamingoes went fishing in the flood” works beautifully as a tongue twister to Greek or Kletzmer music. I am less convinced by the one minute sketches between the songs, but overall the songs are worth it. A particular favourite is “The Slippery Slimy Trout” – an arrangement of the Schubert Quintet, the Trout, which teaches the tune in a very funny way. Elsewhere the words of The Farmyard Tango will make any grown up or child giggle..”There was a Cow whose charms were entrancing, she met a bull who took her ballroom dancing...” For an introduction to Calypso, Country music, gigs, marches, tango and much more, this is a lovely CD to get for a toddler. You can buy the lullabies CD here: print ShowAmazonLink("B00061X9AQ"); And use this link for the Musical Mystery Tour CD: Alison Karlin 12th August 2009