Mama Mary is the host of the her own blog The Mama Mary Show, a freelance writer, author of Dead Dads Club, a mom to two spunky little girls and an a over-zealous GLEEk.

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Jungle Gym by Justin Roberts: A Musical Treat for Kids and Parents

Justin Roberts

Just in case you haven’t heard, there is a third Justin who rounds out the Trifecta of Justin-Music-Mania. I myself am a DIE HARD Justin Timberlake fan and my inner tween has a secret crush on Justin Beiber (oh the hair!), but it’s time now to give some props to the Justin who makes me AND my little girls giggle and groove. His name is Justin Roberts.

He looks a little like John Denver, his music reminds me a lot of the Barenaked Ladies, and his newest CD, Jungle Gym, has been on repeat in my car since we received a copy of it (free from his peeps) a few weeks ago. My girls and I have been big fans of Justin Roberts and his band, The Not Ready for Nap Time Players, for the past three years. Their songs are catchy, even to adults, and his lyrics have a hilarious quirkiness and sentimentality that will transport any parent right back to their own jungle-gym-lovin’ youth.

Jungle GymThe naughtiness of double dares, the sugar-high of trick or treating, the early-pubescent anguish of square-dancing in junior high PE, and the thrill of single-file fire drill lines are just a few of the memories this CD will evoke in parents. The first track on the album, We Go Duck, is a playful recapping of the classic kids game, Duck, Duck Goose. Who knew there is enough material in a silly game of running and tapping for an entire song? That is the genius behind Justin Roberts’ music—exploring everyday childhood experiences and finding the joy and the commonality for which everyone can relate.

A handful of the songs on the new CD are not completely relatable to me though, for example the song called Obsessed By Trucks zooms right past me since I’ve been surrounded by sisters and daughters my whole life, and Snow Day could very well be sung in a different language since I have only been in snow one time in my life. But overall, I find myself tapping my foot to every song, and I just love listening to it with the kids.

My favorite song on the CD is a slower tune called Sign My Cast, which takes me back to the first grade when I broke my wrist by falling off the slide. My initial pity party, way back when, was quickly transformed into the highlight of my year as soon as the boy I had a crush on took my spelling test for me, and when everyone lined up to sign the yellow plaster monstrosity I thought I had died and gone to heaven. “Mom’s given me a lot, all these markers in my hand. So find your favorite spot, press as hard as you can, make sure you find a color with a good contrast, so your name will show up clearly when you sign my cast.” Remember how hard it was to write on those things?

Trips down memory lane along with visions of my own kiddos experiencing these rites of passage for themselves in the near future, are the special nuances that Justin’s music stirs in it’s listeners. Not to mention the sanity-saving reality of having kid music that doesn’t drive adults totally crazy. For all of these reasons, I love me some Justin Roberts.

Be sure to check out this latest CD from JR, along with some of his previous CDs, like my favorites Pop Fly and Meltdown, all available at any major media retailers. And check here for a listing of his concert tour dates. If you live in the Southern California region, Justin will be performing at the Kid’s New Years Eve rockin’ celebration at LEGOLAND California on December 31st. We’ve been seen him there for the past few years and it’s a perfect way to ring in the New Year with your family.

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