Don’t Sit on a Cactus Joel Frankel knows what kind of music children like. In this collection of 11 original songs inspired by traditional folk music, each piece features guitar and plenty of banjo, mandolin and other instruments. Most of the songs are humorous: “Howdy How How” is about “sitting around, wondering how” things grow and change; “Tails” reminds us that all of our animal friends had tails, but we don’t; “Hair” is about what’s on top of our heads and he hopes “it grows a little bit longer”; “This is How We Talk” features a family of musical instruments. The title song sings of the dangers of sitting on a cactus and offers alternate seating choices. “We Go Together,” featured in the hit movie Big, is a gentle songs of friendship and companionship. The tape ends with a lullaby, “Go to Sleep With the Moon,” delightfully performed by Irish singer Kathy Cowan. With catchy lyrics and melodies, these songs are sure to entertain children of all ages. - School Library Journal I Can’t Sit Still Frankel, a Chicago-based singer songwriter who teaches and performs for children, presents 14 original songs that boast a winning combination of intelligent, plain lyrics and engaging music. Performing various rock styles and accompanied by very real (unprofessional in the best sense of the word) children, Frankel is truly fun. Bright spots are “Charlie is a Spoon;” the anthemic “Flying Boy,” featuring a kid who is on a mission to find milk; and a call-and-response sung with one child, “I Just Got a Present,” about opening a gift. In addition to guitar and keyboard, cat purrs, kazoo, spoons and fiddle augment the music. Listeners will surely cotton to the clearly amateur, and sometimes shy, child singers. The quirkiness and simplicity of Frankel’s songs make this an ideal listening experience. - Publishers Weekly
JoJo’s Barnyard Bash JoJo a Go-Go: It’s always inspiring to see an intrepid independent artist gather increasing attention as a result of creative self-marketing – especially in the children’s audio business, which, as anyone involved in it knows, is an especially challenging genre to get noticed in beyond your own regional niche.
But Chicagoan Joel Frankel is doing just that with his third album, “JoJo’s Barnyard Bash,” released on his own Crunchy Records. Frankel has long been one of Child Play’s favorites, a singer/songwriter whose delightful flights of fancy have resulted in some of the most original children’s music around…. - Billboard Magazine
JoJo is a friendly scarecrow who decides to host a barnyard bash. Down home country ballads instruct children about the sounds and nature of farm animals. The enhanced CD includes two music videos, one in Spanish, which can be played through the CD-ROM drive of your home computer. - Women’s Day Kids and Families – Editor’s Choice
Ship of Chocolate Chips After more than a year and a half in the recording studio, irrepressible children’s musician Joel Frankel finally felt confident enough to declare his latest creative endeavor finished. Fans, as well as those not familiar with his music, will find his “Ship of Chocolate Chips” impossible to resist. The recording explodes with fanciful songs, delightfully arranged and produced music and enough variety to keep kids (and adults) dancing and singing along.
I knew this was a remarkable CD the first time I heard it—not just because I loved it, but because my family did. That is astounding simply because it does not happen very often. My wife, Teddi, our 8-year-old, Matthew, and I were driving to Grandma’s when I put “Ship of Chocolate Chips” in the CD player to get their response.
Not since I unveiled “Singin’ in the City—Children’s Music, Chicago Style,” the CD I helped produce for Chicago Parent, have I been able to play an entire children’s recording without one, or both, of them asking me to turn it off. That speaks volumes. Teddi loved the variety and thought Frankel’s playful personality came through beautifully. She also found a couple of great movement songs that she wants to use with her young students. Matthew was totally engaged—singing along and often asking me to “play that one again, Dad!”
The voyage begins with a great movement and participation song, “Hey Little People,” which Frankel says is always a big hit in his live shows, followed by another concert favorite, the catchy singalong “Bagels and Cream Cheese.” The title track is next and showcases Frankel’s sparkling songwriting skills and features a darling child singer, Leah Barr, who helps Frankel create some delicious imagery as they sing of a “Ship of Chocolate Chips.”- Fred Koch – Chicago Parent Magazine
In his fourth release, Joel Frankel offers a variety of silly and engaging tunes for children. His lyrics are smart and witty and will entertain adults as well as children. This album includes 16 original tracks. Many of the songs encourage children to participate and would be appropriate for story time, such as "Hey Little People." The music is bouncy and energetic and will have children and adults singing and dancing along. Parents will likely laugh out loud at such tunes as the bluesy "Shoe Blues," an offering to those who have difficulty remembering where they left their shoes, and "Are We There Yet?", which includes the lyrics "We've run out of chips, and the juice box drips, I can't come to grips that these long trips are....LONG." Among the other tunes are "Bagels and Cream Cheese," "Moon Tickle, " "Nobody's Lunch, " "Wacky Weather Watcher," and more. The set concludes on another high note with "Boom Sh'Boom," an ode to the fact that everone has a favorite refrain. This collection is fun for all ages and a must-have for public libraries.- School Library Journal