"Wiggleworms" is a educational program created in 1985 by Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music to introduce children to music, with classes for kids as young as six months. Wiggleworms was designed to show kids how much fun music can be, and Wiggleworms Love You is a collection of 42 folk songs suitable for youngsters which manages to generate a very high smile factor. Most of the songs on Wiggleworms Love You will be familiar to the average parent (in the manner of "Wheels on the Bus," "Peas Porridge Hot," and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"), though there are a handful of lesser-known numbers thrown in for the sake of variety (among them two Woody Guthrie numbers), as well as few numbers in French, Spanish, and African. The many vocalists on board (most of whom have been involved in the Wiggleworms program for years) manage the not-inconsiderable feat of pitching their performances to a young audience without singing down to them, and the lively acoustic-based accompanists keep the music simple and straightforward, putting the melodies up front while adding playful accents throughout. And the folks behind Wiggleworms have the compassion and good sense to realize parents are going to have to listen to this stuff too, and prevent the performances from getting too sweet while throwing a few jokes to the grown-ups (the best is in "When Cats Get Up": "Moms and Dads get up in the morning/This is what they say/'Shhhh!/Go back to sleep!'"). Wiggleworms Love You is a superb introduction to folk music for small fry, and it's assembled and performed with enough skill and genuine enthusiasm that some moms and dads might actually listen to it for pleasure -- it's a reminder of the simple joy of making music that speaks to all ages.
Wiggleworms Love You Review
by Mark Deming