By Chuck Arnold HOLLY GLEASON Michelle Tauber
April 24, 2006 12:00 PM

Kids’ Music

When I was channeling the fairy voice in yet another round of “Little Bunny Foo Foo,” I knew it was time for some new kids’ tunes. The goal: music that children and parents can enjoy.

KIDZ BOP 9 The latest edition of this wildly popular series features unidentified tween singers chirping recent hits like Mariah’s “We Belong Together” and Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” With cleaned-up lyrics and familiar beats, it’s kiddie karaoke that will unleash your child’s inner pop star. Best for: The not-quite-ready-for-TRL set

DIEGO, DORA & FRIENDS’ ANIMAL JAMBOREE Dinner won’t be ready for another 20 minutes and the kids are getting snappier than caged crocs. No problem: Pop in this danceable collection of critter-related tunes sung by Nickelodeon’s hit characters and—voilà!—it’ll be feeding time before they know it. Best for: Little kids letting off steam

JUSTIN ROBERTS, MELTDOWN! The best kids’ music manages to be on-your-feet fun and laugh-out-loud funny. This release from pop-rocker Roberts does just that, with groovy rhythms and clever, spot-on lyrics in songs like “My Brother Did It” and “Taking Off My Training Wheels.” The best track is the title tune, a hilarious ode to that most unpleasant tactic, the tantrum. Bonus points for the Modern English shout-out: “I’d stop the world and melt down with you.” Best for: “Turn off the TV!” time

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL SOUNDTRACK Remember singing “Summer Nights” into a hairbrush? Well, this Disney Channel flick is Generation IM’s Grease, and the soundtrack has sold more than 2 million copies. No mystery why: It’s got a tween-baiting mix of swoony love songs and catchy hip-shakers. Best for: Saturday-night slumber parties

REGGAE PLAYGROUND You know a kids’ CD is a winner when you’re bopping to it in the minivan—and the car seats are empty. This Caribbean-inflected collection is that kind of CD, and best of all, it should appeal to younger tykes and their older sibs. Break out the pineapple chunks and you’ve got an instant trip to the islands. Best for: Family jammin’

WE ARE … THE LAURIE BERKNER BAND Moms love Berkner. Moms need their lattes. Which is why the cheery singer’s partnership with Starbucks—this new DVD/CD of her hits is one of the chain’s current picks—is the most mom-pleasing match since mac ‘n’ cheese. The DVD showcases videos similar to Berkner’s on kids’ channel Noggin. And the music is as singable as ever—if you’re really lucky, it might even distract the children long enough for you to sip that latte. Best for: Pre-K sing-alongs