Reading Rocks! – Reviews

CD - Reading Rocks!

Reading Rocks!

Product Details

  • Genre: Kids/Family: General Children’s Music
  • Release Date: 2012
  • CD: 17 Songs
  • UPC #885767373235


“Little book lovers are celebrated in Johnette Downing’s Reading Rocks! The high-energy title track has some Louisiana twang.”

Parents Magazine

“Reading Rocks!” CD
by Johnette Downing (Ages 2-8)

Music and Books for Children! Our November 20, 2012!

This is probably TMI, but I hold a very special place in my heart for New Orleans. It was on a spectacular trip back from The Big Easy (and a long drive back to Texas) that we decided if we had the good fortune of having a child and it was a girl, we would name her Brooke. Brooke was conceived a little over a month later. I don’t know if it was the magic of the French Quarter, the somberness of a post-Katrina and Rita Ward 9 or the simple beauty of being on a paddle boat on a river (remember, I grew up around stern wheelers and two rivers) that made life seem short and knowing that I wanted to start a family with the one I loved and had shared almost half my life with in some form and fashion happened there. Sure, we had been rocked by a huge move to Texas followed up by my husband’s big blow of a layoff two years later, but one year later we were somehow stronger and more at peace with things life would throw our way. We did not have a lot, but we had each other and that was all that mattered in that moment with a decision that had been building for months. We wanted to be awesome and inspiring parents, but could we be everything we wanted to be as parents to a new person? It was always a question left unanswered that held us back. Thank goodness we decided we could be good parents on that drive back to Texas, because having Brooke came very easy for us once we tried and it hasn’t been that way since, so we feel so fortunate for her! While my love of music and reading draws me to this new album by the famed (and multi-award winning) children’s author and performer, Johnette Downing, it is her life and love of New Orleans and child-centric entertainment that makes her so special.

Johnette Downing’s latest album, Reading Rocks! is her first album to combine spoken word from five of her well-received children’s books to her award-winning music. Johnette, a Louisiana native who says she brings a little “Louisiana spice” to her worldwide concerts has created a very lively and educational album that ties in reading (including her new book Why the Possum Has a Large Grin) with bluegrass and rock and even a little Caribbean beat. I love Johnette’s simple but profound message that, “If you want your child to read, read.” Amen! You can’t get more close to that message than through an album called Reading Rocks! and I certainly think many parents will get interested in Johnette’s twelve published children’s books all available for sale through her website. Songwriting and children’s books do go together and thank you, Johnette, for putting them both together in this danceable and educational record with your ever-present Louisiana flair!

Check out Johnette’s Books! Johnette has books for purchase on her online store here including some really great books that are Louisiana-inspired. For my Texas readers, check out her book Today is Monday in Texas which features some of the Lone Star State’s favorite foods.

The Music CD Shelf

Reading Rocks!
Johnette Downing

Award-winning New Orleans singer, songwriter, and children’s book author Johnette Downing presents Reading Rocks!, a CD ideal for young people ages 2-8. Reading Rocks! combines spoken words with songs to encourage a love of books and reading in young people. An upbeat blend of storytelling and toe-tapping fun, Reading Rocks! is a great supplement to encourage love of reading in young ones – although Johnette Downing herself emphasizes that the very best way to raise the next generation of readers is, naturally, to read to them! Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children’s music collections, and also as a gift for inquisitive young relatives. The tracks are “Reading Rocks!” (2:15), “Open a Book Finger Play” (0:10), “Today is Monday in Kentucky” (3:23), “Why the Oyster Has the Pearl” (6:48), “Oyster Limerick” (0:18), “R*E*A*D” (1:38), “Story Time” (3:21), “The Colors of the Sky” (2:56), “Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud” (6:47), “Reach Every Achievement Desired” (0:55), “There Once Was a Boy Named Cary” (2:34), “Read to Me” (4:07), “Principal’s Desk” (0:19), “Why the Possum Has a Large Grin” (6:02), “Readers are Leaders” (1:57), “Today is Monday in New York” (3:12) and “Do-do (Sleep) My Child” (2:38). 49 min., 28 sec.

Midwest Book Review, Children’s Book Watch, Vol. 22 #1, November 2012

“As the school year draws to an end and kids are given summer reading packets to do over the summer, it seems like a perfect time to listen to Johnette Downing’s album,Reading Rocks. The country folk jazzy CD is sweetly soothing. We liked “Why the Oyster Has the Pearl,” which is a spoken-word story, “READ” encourages to kids to, well, read, and “Readers Are Leaders” cutely encourages kids to keep reading.Reading Rocks could be a great teaching tool for elementary school teachers to get kids jazzed about reading in class and show little learners that reading is indeed cool.”

Celebrity Parents Magazine

Most recently he has been enjoying Reading Rocks! It is by Johnette Downing, she is a multi-award-winning New Orleans singer/songwriter, children’s musician, and children’s book author. She gets kids jazzed about reading with her 10th studio CD, Reading Rocks! It is about 49 minutes long and seems to be best for kids ages 2 – 8.

Two years in the making, Reading Rocks! is Johnette Downing’s first album to combine spoken word with music. The CD interweaves readings from five of Johnette’s beloved picture books, including her newest, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin (Pelican Publishing, fall 2012), with eleven lively songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock, as well as finger plays and limericks, all designed to motivate youngsters and reluctant readers to roll into the library and bop into books. Check out the You Tube video here – it’s really cute!

With Reading Rocks!, Johnette hopes to get kids up and reading, too!

Tracy, Having Fun Saving

How delightful and how warm to find New Orleans’ own Johnette Downing praising and prescribing for the next generation. She wants kids to read, and so they should. She spreads out the magic of reading in such tunes as “Readers Are Leaders,” and even if I’m not completely convinced, I want to be. The playing, never less than tasty, pushes the gentle didacticism and could stand on its own should Downing ever decide to make music for grown-ups. I’m happiest with Gina Forsyth’s fiddle, but Downing, self-producing, multi-tracks herself into a mini-orchestra with string things, voices and “percussions.”
Some of the songs are actually stories. Said stories feature lazy, greedy snakes, crawfish and possums, outshone by valiant and selfless oysters, crabs and deer. Hey, I know this record is supposed to sell the young ones on the idea of the future. But can I stand under its awning awhile? Life’s better here.

Andrew Hamlin, Offbeat Magazine

Reading Rocks! is a musical CD for children that embraces the written stories and poetry of Johnette Downing and sets them to her music. A beautiful blend of music and a beautiful touch that every child and parent will love.

Reading Rocks by New Orleans-based musician and author, Johnette Downing, is sure to become a favorite of children’s librarians everywhere.
Downing’s tenth children’s music album is a well-honed and creatively buoyant recording that hits all the right early reading bookmarks. Combining well-crafted songs, interspersed with stories and poems, Downing also arranges an old traditional tune with delightful results. “Today Is Monday in Kentucky” is a wonderful song about the days of the week that also praises southern cuisine. Towards the end of the album, she reprises the song as “Today Is Monday in New York,” substituting sorghum and spoon bread with bagels and lox. The majority of the album features her original songs and stories, including the tale of “Why The Oyster Has the Pearl,” followed by her delightful “Oyster Limerick.”

Her literacy theme continues with the bluegrass swing of “”R.E.A.D,” the Dylan-esque “Story Time,” the country funk of “Read to Me,” and bluesy “Readers Are Leaders.” Other highlights include the pastoral “The Colors of the Sky,” and the lovely lullaby “Do-do (Sleep) My Child.” Original stories (supported by great musical backing) include “Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, and “Why the Possum Has A Large Grim,” both tales that are southern takes on Aesop’s fables.

Downing has a beautiful, clear and present voice, plays terrific guitar and mandolin, and is backed by a group of stellar musicians including Al Petteway, Scott Billington and Jake Eckert, among others.

Lahri Bond ©2013 Parents’ Choice

Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

This CD is my son’s newest love. I don’t know what exactly he likes about it, but there is some big draw for him. Maybe it’s the variety of music styles all in one CD. Maybe it’s his love for reading being the content of this CD. Either way, he really enjoys it. It’s one that we hear him playing in his CD player often. It’s a great kid friendly and family friendly CD that will make a great addition to your CD collection.

PS Mom Reviews

Reading Rocks! is Johnette Downing’s first album that combines both her passion with children’s stories and music. A mix of old school storytelling and jazz, it has deep roots in Louisiana rhythm. There are five stories spoken on the CD, each read from Johnette’s beloved children’s books. Her newest, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin had just come out this fall! There are eleven songs on the album ranging from blues to rock, all weaved together to motivate children to read and visit the library – which I love!

Johnette Downing has been creating music and stories since 1990, but alongside that she has also traveled the world teaching parents how to foster a love of reading through music. Her most simple advice actually holds a great deal of wisdom, “If you want your children to read, read.”

I love the concept of a CD that both tells a story as well as offers creative, beautiful music that is all at once relaxing and exciting, with soothing tones to dancing rhythms. Johnette Downing has created an incredible collection with her own original works. At points you could close your eyes and imagine the various bright hues and illustrations of the stories and my tot loved to hop around when the beat started really moving. I think this CD would also go well if you had the stories she was telling. My tot always loves to listen to stories while holding the books, it’s a wonderful idea for the Holidays to get a collection!

Outnumbered 3 to 1

We have been enjoying Johnette’s CD. The kids absolutely eat up her stories. We sang “Take what you need and leave the rest” for two days after listening to the Oyster story.”

Family Focus Blog

Multi-award-winning New Orleans singer/songwriter, children’s musician, and children’s book author Johnette Downing gets kids jazzed about reading with her 10th studio CD, Reading Rocks! (Wiggle Worm Records, $15.00, run time 49 minutes, for ages 2 – 8.)

Being that I grew up largely in Cajun Country, I couldn’t resist this CD for my kids to get some Louisiana heritage and spice. As an added bonus, the CD gets them jazzed about reading and it has all the lyrics printed so you can read along to them.

Reading Rocks! is Johnette Downing’s first album to combine spoken word with music. The CD interweaves readings from five of Johnette’s beloved picture books, including her newest, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin (Pelican Publishing, fall 2012), with eleven lively songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock. “If you want your child to read, read,” says Downing. This simple insight is at the heart of Reading Rocks!

My 5 and 7 year old love listening to Reading Rocks! when they go to bed at night. Their favorite story song is “Why the Oyster has its Pearl.”

Family Focus Blog

Johnette Downing has a unique ability to combine story with song. She is passionate about reading and sings about it! Johnette’s new album “Reading Rocks” is a compilation of stories, songs and fingerplays specifically highlighting reading as the key to helping young ones ignite their imaginations and soar into the land where books are friends. I love how she uses voice inflections for different characters in her stories. The stories are funny and they teach lessons as well. Johnette’s New Orleans blues and jazz music along with her friendly voice will endear any reluctant reader to pick up a book and read!

Milk N Honey Learn and Grow

I love the mixtures of the music and story time. One track will tell a story and the next will get your kids up and dance. I have never seen or heard a CD with both and my kids and I love it. If they get to wild in the car I just pop that CD in and all is calm.. it’s great!

ChicnSavvy Reviews

Reading Rocks! by Johnette Downing
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reading is COOL! We are a family of readers. I encourage my kids to read in their spare time as well as require it with their school work. Both of my big boys read six books in September. I was hoping for 10 but six is good! The album Reading Rocks! by Johnette Downing features a mix of songs and stories. While the theme is reading there are a few songs like Today is Monday in New York that are not about reading (Loved this song!).

Two years in the making, ReadingRocks! is Johnette Downing’s first album to combine spoken word with music. The CD interweaves readings from five of Johnette’s beloved picture books, including her newest, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin (Pelican Publishing, fall 2012), with eleven lively songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock, as well as finger plays and limericks, all designed to motivate youngsters and reluctant readers to roll into the library and bop into books.

My Thoughts:
I loved the flow of this CD. Perfect for the car rides because the stories are a nice break in the music. Do-do (Sleep) My Child is a beautiful lullaby. While the title implies this cd is all about rock it is really has a more laid back mellow feel. The songs have a bit of a southern vibe which I really loved. This CD is a wonderful addition to my music library ~ I’m loving sharing songs that encourage a love of reading with my kids.

As They Grow Up