Friday, December 19, 2008

Smart e Bear!

My Smart-e-Bear arrived today from intellitoys! 

It's a plush bear that plays music and games. You squeeze his paws to tell him what to do. If you ask for "Fun Songs," then my song, "The Cat Came Back" is the second choice. 

I must admit that although I knew my song was on the bear, it didn't really hit home until I had the item in hand and heard my own voice coming out of it. This is very cool! The bear is cute (cuter in person than he is on the website) and very soft. The sound quality is great. Evalyn loves it! She's impressed that her daddy is on the same toy as Trout Fishing in America. (So's her daddy.)

I haven't tried this yet, but the bear is supposed to be computer compatible so that you can plug it in and download new songs and stories from the website. I'm in very good company here. Besides Trout Fishing, we also see Bill Harley, Joe McDermott, Charity and the JAMband, Joanie Bartels, Lou Del Bianco, Marla Lewis, Dianne de Las Casas - I'm just grabbing names that pop out at me here, there are dozens of amazing artists on the list.

You can still order yours from and get it in time for Christmas!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Museum of the Red River

Yesterday I performed at the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Oklahoma. Evalyn came with me, and so did my mom, who had always been curious to see the museum. They both took photos for me.

Here are my dinosaurs for the "You're a Dinosaur" song. Does the hadrosaur in the middle look familiar? I did that song in honor of the museum's most impressive display, an Acrocanthosaurus, a great big meat-eating dinosaur, similar to a T-Rex, but with three fingers on each hand, and spines down his back. I replaced the "Tyranosaur Crunch" with the "Acrocanthosaur Crunch," which has a nice ring to it I think!

During my first set, Evalyn sang "Oklahoma Annie" with me, and here we are during the second set, doing "Humming Bird Hum." I changed up most of the songs because it turned out that most of the kids who came in for the second show were also at the first.

During "Silly Song" a big ol' grizzly bear joined me onstage!

My mom, Evalyn, and her newest Webkinz buddy, "Waddles," posed here for me.

Evalyn took this shot of me making a funny face during lunch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Podcasts Galore

I've been working hard on my new podcast for librarians, called "The Program Room." The first four episodes are up already. Some live conversations are scheduled, and other interviews are in the can, including one with Bill Harley, and another with Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. These programs are aimed at children's librarians, but really anybody involved with creativity and kids will get a lot out of them. You can check it out at, or search for it on iTunes.

Meanwhile, Lisa has posted not one, but TWO brand new Kids Music Planet podcast specials for Halloween! They each feature tons of fun songs to celebrate one of our favorite holidays! You can check them out at, or search for them on iTunes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It Could Have Been Worse

The new Scribblemonster CD is here! I just got to hear it the other day, and it's already one of my favorite CDs for families - very edgy and cool. Nobody comes up with concepts like Scribble Jim (I'm a Utility Pole, for example?!?!), and nobody beats the Scribblemonster band for tight rocking melodic arrangements. It's great, and I would definitely say that, even if my name wasn't on the back cover. 

Yes, I co-wrote one of the songs, track 7, "It Could Have Been Worse," with Scribble Jim himself. 

What was it like writing with the great scribbled one? Well, (you see this coming, don't you! Wait for it... Wait for it....) IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE! Actually, I learned a lot, and I think we are both quite proud of the song. Jim says that most of the songs on this CD either fall into the "kids like it" camp or the "parents like it" camp, but the one we wrote together falls into the "everybody likes it" category!

("Everybody likes it" is a category, not a camp - I just wanted to make sure you caught that; I'm not a big camper. See how just writing about it makes me silly?)

Anyhow, yes I never would have written the "snail" line in a song for myself, but something told me Jim would love it, and he did, and now I do too. That's what's super cool about co-writing. 

This is our second collaboration; in 2007 the Scribble Monster Band recorded backing tracks for my song, "Get a Clue," and it ROCKS! I sure hope we can work together some more in the future.

And, speaking of collaborations, I've been working closely with my friend, Mr. Billy (My other rocking collaborator on the Get a Clue CD). We are working on twelve new songs for the "Be Creative at Your Library" theme this summer. I'm beginning to get very excited about this project because the songs and recordings are coming along very nicely. More about this later, of course. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 17, 2008


On Wednesday I visited two 2nd grade classrooms in two different schools, both to honor summer readers (see the previous post). These photos are from Mrs. Frost's second grade class at Sunnybrook Christian School. As you can see, we had a great time! 

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Summer Reading Winners, and a Big Yellow Spider!

I donated ten classroom visits to the Stillwater public library, which they awarded to ten of their top readers this past summer. So this week I've been visiting a few classrooms here in Stillwater. 

Here I am with Mrs. Colburn's third grade class at Sangre Ridge!

Look what I saw out the kitchen window the other day! Lisa took this awesome photo of our new friend. Against the kitchen blinds in the background you can kind of get an idea how big she is - she's big! If you look closely you can see that she's missing one leg. Evalyn named her "Zig Zag" - can you see why? We call her "Ziggy" for short. We know she's a "she" and not a "he" because I googled "black yellow spider zig zag web" and found out all about her kind. Try it!

My first "Born to Do Science" cafe was a big success! You can read more about that and view photos on my science blog.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two New Fan-Made Videos!

I got a really cool birthday present the other day. Well, it was a coincidence it came on my birthday, actually, but still, it was cool. I received an email from Katherine and Andrew, siblings, and long-time fans of my music. They had decided to make an animated video using Legos, and they chose my song, "The Princess and the Farmer's Son," for their soundtrack. Check it out below! I love the dragon's fiery breath and the flying carpet sequence.

Plus, just a few days earlier, Rhonda Turley from the Piedmont Public Library sent me a video that her summer reading kids made using my "Catch the Reading Bug" song! I love seeing the bug run through all the books mentioned in the song. Check it out below as well!

The Princess and the Farmer's Son

Catch the Reading Bug

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Born to Do Science Café

This is Dr. Jeffrey Byrnes, volcanologist. He will be the first guest speaker in a series of events I'm hosting called the "Born to Do Science" cafe. There will be four cafes during the Fall semester. All are free and open to the public. These are for adults and kids grades 2 and up.

My goal is to give kids a chance to talk to real working scientists about their research. I want kids to come away feeling that 1. they talked to a scientist who's doing important work, 2. they can understand that work on some level, and 3. they can picture themselves doing similar work in their own lives.

If my first four events go well, I will extend the series into the Spring semester.

"What does this have to do with my music career?" you may well ask. If I can find the time, I may write some new songs to perform at these events. But in any case, this is part of a larger plan that will include science-type songs at some point. For now, I'm having a blast talking to scientists!

Below is the Fall schedule.

You can find out more at

Volcanoes of Venus!
How Volcanism Shapes the Planets
Talk with Dr. Jeffrey Byrnes, Volcanologist, about his research into the formation of volcanic land forms on Venus, Mars, and Earth.
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 6:30 PM, hastings coffee shop, Stillwater, OK

The Molecular Eye!
How Bacteria See and React to Light
Talk with Dr. Wouter Hoff, Microbiologist, about his research into how life interacts with light through shape-changing proteins.
Tuesday, Oct. 7, 6:30 PM, hastings coffee shop, Stillwater, OK

The Microbe Hunter!
How to Identify New Life Forms on Earth
Talk with Dr. Mostafa Elshahed, Microbiologist, about his research into finding and identifying previously unknown types of microbes.
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 6:30 PM, hastings coffee shop, Stillwater, OK

Stop Stressing Me Out!
How Your Friendships May Cause Stress
Talk with Dr. Jennifer Byrd-Craven, Developmental Psychologist, about her research on the social stress hormone cortisol and why it stresses us out.
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 6:30 PM, hastings coffee shop, Stillwater, OK

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Final Summer Show in Duncan

This morning we all got up bright and early and drove to Duncan, OK for my last program of the summer!

Duncan has a little building out behind the library where they do their programs. That room was packed with kids and adults. It was a great audience; even the littlest ones were very good at focusing. During the last song, "insect zoo," we had total silence for the line "my walking sticks are hiding" - that's a part where I ask for quiet but rarely get silence like this!

Lisa took a few photos for you. Here I am singing:

"Did I say Pop Up? I don't think so!"
These girls were curious about my guitar after the program.
So what's next, now that the summer is over for me? 

Next year's theme is "Be Creative at Your Library." I'll be presenting workshops on this theme to Kansas librarians, so I'll have to learn all about it, and write some new songs right away. So I'll be getting started on that. 

Lisa has big plans for the Kids Music Planet Podcast, so I'll be helping her with that. I'm also booking my "Songworks" programs in the schools.

And there are several exciting new projects in the works for me that I don't want to say too much about yet. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I went solo today to the Piedmont library, since Lisa had some Children's Music Web Award work to finish up at home. Piedmont has the pleasant problem of more people than space, so I set up in the main library. Here's what it looked like from my perspective. (Except I don't remember that big funny-looking kid in the back with the colorful green and yellow shirt. Hmmm...)

Here's what it looked like from the audience:
Posing with kids after the show:

Well, only one more show to go this summer! That's Duncan on Thursday at 11:00!

Oh, and by the way (now that the summer is about over) you can download the "Catch the Reading Bug Song" for free from Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Metropolitan Library System

I did four shows Thursday and three on Friday in the Metropolitan Library System, as a replacement for Al Bostick, who was ill. This was a very last minute engagement - we got the call Wednesday afternoon! It was kind of surreal to suddenly find myself in the middle of an unexpected (but familiar) Metro Library tour.

All the shows went well. Here are some photos from the Belle Isle library in OKC on Thursday afternoon. Here we are catching the reading bug:

"There coming after YOU!" - from the song "Creepy Crawly Party Time":
Signing a poster:
At Harrah, my audience was mostly a daycare group of three and four year olds! They were young for my program, but so cute! We had fun. Here they are dancing:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Charles Page Library in Sand Springs

I had a fun visit to the Charles Page library in Sand Springs today. It was a small group in a small room, with a few kids that were really active and/or vocal, so we had a lot of interaction, and it got a bit squirrely at times, but in a good way! The teen volunteers were having about as much fun as anyone, and the librarian had them come up to help me out "on stage" during "Silly Song." Unfortunately we didn't get a photo of that, but here's one Lisa took during the show:

And another with some audience members after the show:

This afternoon we got a phone call from the Arts Council of Oklahoma City. Apparently storyteller Al Bostick, who was touring the Metropolitan Library this week is ill and in the hospital! So I will be substituting for Al for the seven shows left in the tour, tomorrow and Friday. 

Al is a great performer. Evalyn got to see him at the Yukon Children's Festival in May, and has been re-telling one of his stories ever since! Those will be some tough shoes to fill, but I'm glad I'm available to help out. Our thoughts are with Al and we wish him a very speedy recovery!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Yesterday I did two shows at the Norman library. I look forward to this one each summer. I have loyal fans in Norman who come to see me year after year. One mom brought a CD wallet with five of my CDs in it so she could be sure and figure out which one(s) she didn't have at the sales table!

During lunch Evalyn started asking Lisa and me what book series we read when we were kids. Whenever we've talked about that, one character has been lurking in the depths of my memory - and I haven't been able to drag him into the light. Yesterday he finally stepped forward. I was thinking maybe it was a sciencey kind of story, or was it a mystery? And the kid's name was Dan? Danny? Danny... Dunn? Could that be right? I looked up the name and found Danny Dunn, Science Detective and Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine, plus half a dozen others.

So in this photo I'm on a trip down memory lane with Danny Dunn. Evalyn is reading a Katie Kazoo (A character I mention in my "Catch the Reading Bug" song). 
Lisa did some video taping and only took one still photo during the performance:
Evalyn made herself a cozy nest under the sales table for some more Katie Kazoo, Switcharoo...
After the evening show, the children's librarian, Basha, was complaining that I didn't sing her favorite song. So I grabbed my guitar and sang "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet," just for her.
Here I am with Pam Jones. We were recently paired up by to write a song together. She lives in the Texas Panhandle, but just happened to be heading into OKC for a workshop, so she was able to come see my program. How cool is that? Not too many SongU folks probably get to meet their song challenge partners face to face before they start writing.
Posing for a photo with an audience member:

Just three more shows and my summer performance season is over! (That was fast.) I'll be in Sand Springs at the Charles Page library this Thursday at 10:30 AM, then Tuesday the 22nd in Piedmont at 10:00 AM, and Duncan on Thursday the 24th at 11:00 AM. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baxter Springs, Pittsburg, and Fort Scott, Kansas

Whew - three shows and a long drive home yesterday, but we survived it well! It was a fun day, actually.

Our first show was at Baxter Springs, in a very unique space, as you can see below. The library is housed in the original courthouse, which is well over 100 years old, and the children's area on the second floor is dominated by this great wide-open space. Lisa tried to capture the scope of the room in a couple of shots here - not easy to do! 

For Evalyn, the best part of Baxter Springs was the cat. Yes, the library has its own cat! He and Evalyn became fast friends. In the background of this photo you can see a Magic Tree House book, forgotten and neglected on the floor. We look for the next book in that series at each library we visit. They are not always easy to find, so when she finds the next book to read, it's a big deal. The fact that she didn't get through her Tree House book tells you how much she loved playing with that cat.
Here's another angle on that wide open space, with the sunlight shining in behind me.
Evalyn in Kitty Heaven:
Our second stop was Pittsburg. I had a very energetic crowd there. Their singing blew me away, especially on the first two songs. The walls of the Pittsburg program room were covered with the body of this whimsical bookworm:
At our final stop, Fort Scott, the space was small enough that I went without a sound system. That made for a fun and intimate show, with a small but enthusiastic group!
Evalyn sat in the back of the room reading Captain Underpants. After the show a mom confided to us that before she realized Evalyn belonged to me, she had puzzled over why this one kid wasn't responding at all to the music!
Let me see your ant mandibles! "Dig, dig, dig..."
My awesome audience!
On our way home we drove back through Pittsburg and stopped for dinner at Napoli's, which I found listed in a smoke-free dining guide online. It was the best Italian food I think we've ever experienced! Highly recommended!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chetopa and Galena, Kansas

We are on the road tonight in Kansas. I did two shows today, first in Chetopa, and then in Galena. My seven-year-old daughter Evalyn, who is bored with the show by now, took the camera from her Mama and snapped a whole bunch of photos during my first couple of songs. Most of them turned out really great. Here are a few of those:

Lisa took the camera during "Silly Song" (what did you expect?) and took a series of Evalyn imitating me in the foreground.

This one speaks for itself:
We had a really great time during "Pop Up Sit Down." In fact in both groups today somebody said "do it again!" at the end of that song!

A couple of photos with audience members after the show in Chetopa:

At Galena, the librarian presented me with a book bag filled with goodies! We'll sure use the book bag - we have one but we always over stuff it at the library. Especially lately - Evalyn's been going through dozens of books a week! This hat was also in the bag, and it inspired this patriotic pose:
Here is a rare photo of my roady, packing up after the show. What did you say? He looks just like me? Really? I never noticed.

Tomorrow: Three shows! Baxter Springs, Pittsburg, and Ft. Scott.