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Children's Tunes Revive Spirit of Punk Rock

Stefan Shepherd, who writes the children's music blog Zooglobble, likens music for the smaller set today to punk rock of the 1970s.

"When [punk] started, it had an energy, and it had this sense of 'We're just going to do it ourselves.' I think a lot of the kids' music we're seeing now is artists saying 'I just want to put out a kids' album, and I'm going to record it on my own time, I'm going to record it on my own dime,'" Shepherd says.

Shepherd, the father of a 5-year-old daughter and 17-month-old son, cites the group Wee Hairy Beasties as an example. The group actually counts veteran punk rockers among its members.

The band members sound like they're having a lot of fun on their new release, Animal Crackers, says Shepherd.

"They're not talking down to kids, they're just playing these characters and having lots of fun doing it, and I think the recording really shows that," Shepherd says.

Other artists, such as the Jellydots, Johnny Bregar and Sam Hinton, also are producing music for kids that break the mold, whether it's with indie-rock riffs, full instrumentation, uncanny animal mimcry — or a sample from a Bee Gees' song.

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.