In brief

21st November 1997 at 00:00
IT'S A BABY! By Mark and Helen Johnson. WITNESSES. By Margaret Carpenter. Out of the Ark Music. Pounds 12 each (book and cassette). From 15 Esher Green, Esher, Surrey KT10 8AA. Tel 01372 463274. Pounds 12 each (book and cassette).

Two more Nativity musicals join the unending procession to Bethlehem. It's a Baby! is for nursery and key stage 1 children. It contains lots of helpful repetition and much gentle humour. The percussion parts are manageable. The musical idiom ranges from comedy-country for the shepherds to vigorous hora for the put-upon innkeeper. Witnesses is for older children. It's done as a flashback documentary presented by "our very own roving reporter". Among the music numbers, which include undemanding piano arrangements and some simple but effective part-singing, there are roles for all the familiar characters - even the stars get their chance to sing and swing.

Flowing Along. By Sharon Wigley Flo Publications. Pounds 4.99 from 119 Beltham Lane, Grantham NG31 9HW. Tel 01476 591821 These 10 cheerful songs written for primary schools reinforce work in various topics and investigations. There's a fierce Victorian schoolteacher, a river's life-story, the invention of the phonograph and Roman soldiers. Melody lines are given with guitar chord accompaniments.

Sing It and Say It. A Bookful of Ancient Greece. A Bookful of Ancient Rome. By Sara Ridgley and Gavin Mole International Music Publications Pounds 13. 90 each (book and cassette) These two books each give you the option of presenting three 10-minute musicals or one combined half-hour show. There is lots of humour which ranges from the broad to the facetious while by-passing the subtle. Many facts protrude from among the jokes. The Greeks offer Zeus as a Fifties rock star, an introduction to the alphabet, and a serious love-song from Apollo to Hyacinthus. The Romans supply slaves, Boudicca and enough emperors to restock the Annals of Tacitus. There's also an operatic quarrel between a wide-boy Arena and a snooty Aqueduct. These collections will be in demand for key stage 2 class assemblies.

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