Various artists

French Playground

The French understand children. If you have any doubt, see François Truffaut’s movie Small Change or grab this CD. Must a kid’s album be childish? Au contraire. This music is completely cool. Here are a wide variety of sophisticated yet innocently appealing songs for kids and adults. The many melodic styles vary from Parisian cafe to North Africa, from New Orleans to Euro pop, from the Caribbean to Canada. They’re songs from wherever French is sung. Standouts include “Bonjour, Bonjour,” which doesn’t just say hello, but also humorously describes the people and places seen during a bus ride. It could have come from a Jacques Tati film. “La P’tite Monnaie,” also movie-worthy, is a musical crisscross of dinner conversation. English liner notes are useful, but really it’s about the bonne musique.