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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
They Might Be Giants venture into the land of books, and the result is one big success. Following the release of No!, their first CD for kids, Giants John Flansburgh and John Linnell found a new audience among their steadfast followers of alt-rock mommies and daddies, and this charming picture book is another extension of their creativity.The illustrated collection of four original songs includes a CD for easy listening and features the illustrations of artist Marcel Dzama. Dzama's images encapsulate the general whimsy of the book in soft hues of red and brown that hark back to the days of the 1950s. Clean white backdrops provide the space for the characters -- two young children, a tuxedo-clad rabbit and a tangerine octopus, to name a few -- to become the stars.
The first song/chapter questions the concept of "Impossible," with imagination taking the front seat. Want to be an "octofish"? "Though it happens quite impossibly, the impossible turns out to be possibly." While a silly song at first glance, this is a fine example of showing youngsters it's okay to dream big. After all, these are the Giants we are talking about. "Happy Doesn't Have to Have an Ending" stars a longhaired hippie kitten, a love-crazed bundle of fur who believes in good times and dancing all night. These first two songs are a bit lively to be deemed "bedtime" music, but they do inspire smiles and silliness, which is always good fodder for sweet dreams. By contrast, "Idlewild" is a wistful song, with lyrics and illustrations that paint a lovely picture of a day at the carnival. But the big hit here is "Bed, Bed, Bed," an inspired lullaby that follows all the big events of one child's day, from reading to brushing teeth to practicing the guitar. But now, she croons, "I've had my fun, I've stretched and yawned and all is said and done, I'm going to Bed. Bed. Bed. Bed. Bed." A different version of this song appears on the CD -- in lieu of the slow pace and soothing female voice featured here is a more chaotic appeal to the ending of the day with rockin' riffs, funky jazz licks, and mooing cows. We prefer the more tranquil version to lull little ones into slumber, but one thing is clear: They Might Be Giants have surpassed the realm of indie music gods and triumphed in the kids' world with a guitar in their arms, love in their heart, and an octofish by their side. Amy Barkat