Everyone knows Peter and the Wolf, right? Prokofiev's well-loved piece for orchestra and narrator is invariably used whenever an orchestra plans a concert for kids, usually along with the other warhorses of kids' concerts: Saint-SaÃ«ns' Carnival of the Animals and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. There are several other works out there that are similar, and just as entertaining, that you might want to consider for the tots on your gift list:
Francis Poulenc: L'Histoire de Babar came about after a young relative of Poulenc's placed her copy of Jean de Brunhoff's book on the piano and asked him to play it for her.
Alan Rideout: Ferdinand the Bull for narrator and violin, is a realization of Munro Leaf's book The Story of Ferdinand, the bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in the bull-ring. AngÃ©lÃ¨ Debeau includes a French and an English version on her Solo album.
Stephen McNeff: Four Tales from Beatrix Potter -- the tales of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, and Samuel Whiskers -- are turned into real charmers for orchestra and someone like Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) who can not only narrate, but sing as well with delightful character.
Ruth Crawford Seeger: The Adventures of Tom Thumb, for narrator and piano is an early work by Seeger, who wrote the text herself, based on the Brothers Grimm story.
And in case you still need a Hanukkah gift, there's Pincus & the Pig, the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra's re-imagining of Peter & the Wolf, with Maurice Sendak narrating.