recess radio program

04/21/06
Happy Bees
    by John Cech

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That's Ralph and Gabrielle Kotkov singing the title song from a new CD called Happy Bees based on a recent picture book by Arthur Yorinks. The book and the CD are about those little wonders of nature. Bees have often been used as examples for children about how they should behave -- most famously perhaps in "How Doth the Little Busy Bee," written in the late 1680s by Isaac Watts. My grandmother must have known about Watts' poem, which was often set to music, because she constantly hummed to us her own version of one of its most famous lines about the "mischief" that "idle hands" could get into. The message for us kids was: keep on buzzing, and "improving each shining hour."

But there's nothing too didactic about the playful selection of songs on Happy Bees. In fact, you're more likely to find a bee, like Gene, complaining in the song "All Day Long" about the dronery of his life, or hear about the dances that are held in the beehive, or fugue with Steve Rattazzi and the names of the bees' many-legged cousins.

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And this weekend, you can glide rhapsodically, as Rachel Matthews does in "Honey is Sweet."

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Copyright 2006 John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."