cover image HEY, PICASSO


Jessica Harper, . . Rounder Kids, $14.98 (800-768-6337p) ISBN 978-1-57940-103-0

Accomplished children's performer Harper (Nora's Room ) delivers a clever and vibrant concept album: a collection of original songs inspired by great works of art. "Hey, Picasso" finds the songwriter musing on the artist's Self Portrait with a Palette . Her lyrics offer suggestions for what Pablo might create with the materials at hand: "Hey, Picasso, paint the sky/ Put a white cloud in it/ Add a small red bird or two/ It only takes a minute." A song entitled "Joy Ride" subtly suggests a rock/calypso beat and is inspired by Mary Cassatt's The Boating Party . Van Gogh's masterpiece Starry Night is at the heart of the dreamy, African-sounding "This Starry Night," which features Harper's sweet, clear vocals and bright harmonies alongside a strong bongo and bass beat. And, as she typically does, Harper here includes recorded snippets of children (including her own daughters) singing, speaking and generally having a good time. Other well-known artists who get a shout-out on the recording are Monet, Renoir and Degas. Reproductions of all the paintings mentioned in the songs accompany the lyrics in the CD booklet. All ages. (Sept.)