Don Kerr

The Sniffing Princess

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Multi-instrumentalist/engineer Don Kerr has had success supporting the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Neko Case, Mitchell Froom, and Spookey Ruben, but in 1999 decided to step out alone with The Sniffing Princess, a children's book and CD set (written, illustrated, composed, and performed by Kerr) that tells the story of the Sniffing Princess and her brother, the Sweet-Toothed Prince, as they traipse through the kingdom sniffing and eating all of the delights they can find. The story is a charming one, written in couplets, and, as mentioned, accompanied on CD. Kerr has a magical whimsy singing these songs, and somehow the whole project comes across like a cross between the sweetness and charm of Schoolhouse Rock mastermind Bob Dorough and Harry Nilsson's orchestrated classic The Point! The first three songs, of four in total, introduce the princess, the prince, and their father, the Chocolate King. The songs are then followed by a reading of the book and the instrumental "Slowly Off to a Dream." While the book itself is the main attraction here, one wonders whether or not the CD would've benefited from a similar sequencing as the aforementioned Point!, where Nilsson trades the narration of his story back and forth with the songs he'd written around it. As it stands, the musical portion of The Sniffing Princess, though quite wonderful and fantastically fun, is a bit skimpy at only four songs, and furthermore seems detached from the reading of the story on the CD. Still, with the only complaints stemming from wanting more of the charming and engaging music than what is presented here (humorously, a faint reflection of the story's moral), having The Sniffing Princess around at all is worthy of a round of applause.

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