ForeWord Reviews

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Songs From Around the World

Foreword Review — July / Aug 1999

Who doesn’t remember the fun of singing “Frére Jacque” as a child? There really is no better way for young children to learn other languages than through song.

The well known foreign language masters, Berlitz, have produced a book/tape combination that is sure to be a hit with children. It contains three to four songs from several different countries, all sung by native-speaking men and women. The musical accompaniment is simple and the voices are clear. On one side, the songs are played at regular speed; on the other they are slowed for instructional purposes.

When this reviewer played the Spanish songs for a student from Mexico, her eyes lit up and she immediately began singing along, affirming the subtitle “Timeless Children’s Songs.” Many of the selections are counting songs with repetitive phrases, and many are about animals. The choices from the United States include “This Old Man” and “Hush Little Baby.” The accompanying booklet contains English translations for each song, a letter to parents and the website for Berlitz.

Although the title is Songs From Around the World, selections are limited to countries from Europe and the Americas. This is still a fine collection, and a good choice for parents and teachers who want to introduce children to other cultures through music—that most universal of languages.