Find the wonder

This album is perhaps the best illustration of how adults lose track of childhood wonder. Catharine Cary performs nine stories about three children in southwest France (yes, the stories are in English), accompanied by Ivan Bamford on percussion and Eric Lewis on clarinet and cornet (not usually at the same time).

Catharine Cary
Air Cake and Other Summery Occupations
(Orchard of Pomegranates)

That basic description is perfectly accurate, but it fails to capture the exuberance and inventiveness of the performances. Bamford and Lewis are basically improvising within a framework, and Cary reads, shouts, exhorts, sings and exclaims the stories. To most adult ears, I'm sure this sounds almost like Dada. To adults who think that Kidz Bop are the epitome of children's music, I imagine this sounds like some sort of nightmare.

But I imagine kids (this is aimed at those aged 7-12, though I know a few who would have loved it when younger) will immediately lock in to the raucous, almost cacaphonic presentation. And the ideas and imagery are totally Pinkwaterian (another author who isn't everyone's idea of a classic children's writer).

The joy is in the ramble, and these pieces encourage the listener to think and imagine without restraint. The music is an energetic conduit for those wild thoughts. Pretty wild, perfect for kids . . . and the child in you. Rediscover your wonder.

Jon Worley

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