Gary Richard

Whales of the World: Planet Me!

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Whales of the World: Planet Me! combines whale sounds and education about the animals with a set of whimsical songs expanding on a similar theme. Here and there, a smarty-pants kid narrator named Devin blabs about whales and their history to his pal Sarah (Devin pronounces "migration" as "my-gWAY-shin" -- that's either charming or annoying, depending on your outlook.) In between, lighthearted songs from Gary Richard and Richard Hooper fill out the story. For example, there's "King Huge (of the Blues)," which features the enormous mammal singing -- predictably -- a blues jam. "Inky Dinky Minke" adopts the sappy tone of the underdog, since the minke whale is the smallest of the rorqual baleens. Of course, small is relative in the watery world of whales -- minke whales top out at 30 feet long and seven tons. This fact sets up one of the best lines on the album: "Inky binky Whinky I am/30 times heavier than a catamaran." In this way, Whales of the World muddles through its subject. The album could have used more actual whale calls, as the sounds are some of the most amazing -- and creepy -- in all nature. But know-it-alls Devin and Sarah redeem themselves in the end with a nod towards conservancy and Whales of the World proves to be a mildly entertaining record that, coupled with more thorough whale literature, will offers a solid introduction to these fascinating mammals.

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