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*Hello Hello* by Dan Zanes, illustrated by Donald Saaf

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Hello Hello
by Dan Zanes, illustrated by Donald Saaf
ages infant-8 32 pages Megan Tingley September 2004 Hardcover    

At the risk of sounding juvenile, Dan Zanes is so cool.

You may remember Zanes’ former musical act, The Del Fuegos - a Boston band, big on the college music scene in the mid ‘80s but mainstream enough to be voted 1984’s Best New Band by Rolling Stone Magazine.

A few years ago, Zanes started making what he describes as “21st Century All-Ages Folk Music.” Having released 6 CDs and making several videos for the Noggin kids’ TV network, Zanes made his foray into the literary world with Hello Hello.

The book features the lyrics of Zanes’ song “Hello Hello” along with the illustrations of his brother in law, Donald Saaf. Also included is a CD with “Hello Hello” and four other songs, including the traditionals “Crawdad Song” and “Get on Board Little Children.” Sheet music for all songs is included.

As far as the lyrics go, Hello Hello is characteristic of Zanes’ laid back, affable manner: “Everyday is new, so wondrous and few, and a friend comes walking through, and says hello, hello, hello.” The song ends on a culturally friendly note, saying hello in 17 languages.

Saaf’s charming and colorful illustrations do a fantastic job complimenting the lyrics. A banjo-toting butterfly regularly makes an appearance, along with children of varying races and abilities, in some fanciful neighborhood scenes: A huge apple waves hello in a produce store doorway, three children sail in an upside-down umbrella, and a fox and chicken dance together. All are dressed in interesting and colorful patterns – animals included. The proportions are completely ridiculous; a cat stands on hind legs, taller than a child, flowers bloom bigger than an elephant’s head… No problem - the absurdities just lend to the charm.

This delightful book and CD combo comes highly recommended.

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  M.M. Renshaw/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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