Maria Muldaur reunites with Jim Rothermel, the artist she collaborated with on her successful Swingin' in the Rain album (1998), for Animal Crackers in My Soup: The Songs of Shirley Temple (2002), a collection of songs popularized by the one and only Shirley Temple. Music for Little People singing sensation Carrie Lyn joins Muldaur for these many children's songs, as does Norton Buffalo, who lends his voice to a few songs. In addition to Rothermel, the musical director who both orchestrates and arranges the album as well as contributes numerous instruments, Muldaur recruits a number of talented San Francisco Bay Area jazz musicians -- Danny Caron (guitar), Ruth Davis (bass), John Burr (piano), and Lance Dresser (drums) -- for Animal Crackers in My Soup, giving it a sound quite similar to Swingin' in the Rain. Both albums take classic songs and give them a jazzy, upbeat update that's undoubtedly modern and contemporary. In particular, Lyn shines as the album's standout vocalist despite her young age, highlighting such songs as "Animal Crackers," "Lollipop," and "When I Grow Up." Both young and old will enjoy the reinterpretations of these timeless songs forever associated with Temple, America's favorite child star of the '30s.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier