They Might Be Giants has long been among my favorite bands, producing a lot of memorable music over the past nearly 30 years. Although Lincoln remains my pick for their best work, they continue to put out clever, catchy music that is never less than entertaining. The documentary on the band, Gigantic, ranks with the best rock and roll films. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s followed their career that TMBG also produce engaging kids’ books and music.
Kids Go! is a colorful easy-reader book, brightly illustrated by Pascal Campion, encouraging children to get off the couch and be active. The accompanying DVD animates Campion’s kinetic illustrations to a horn-driven track that finds TMBG sounding like (not unlike) Was (Not Was). Although billed as a “sing-along” book, the 2:37 song’s so brisk, it’s a challenge just to turn the pages on pace. It’s lively and fun.
Much as I enjoyed the book and video, our kids are no longer within the target demographic for this work. That’s why I got three of my young nieces and nephews to weigh in on the book, song, and video. To spare them the embarrassment of appearing in one of my reviews, I’ll refer to them as A (age 5), B (age 6), and C (10, and something of a TMBG fan).
JAG (your reviewer): Do you like the song?
A: It’s good! It makes me want to jump!
B: Go! (he has been doing an extreme version of jumping jacks since the song started) Go!
C: This track must smoke, live.
JAG: How do you jump like a jumping bean?
B: Like… (pants) this… (starts doing a pogo-type move).
A: Those beans jump ‘cause they’re full worms.
C: Must be Linnell singing, but it doesn’t really sound like either of the Johns.
B: I can really feel my heart-beep! Phew. (still pogo-ing)
C: It reminds me of “Walk the Dinosaur.” This has a better video, though.
JAG: Will you read the book again if I give it to you?
A: Yes! I can read all the words!
C: Campion’s drawings have awesome energy. You should see him draw Wolverine.
Kids Go! has a good message, a great beat, and is easy to jump to. It’s fun for the young and those who read it to them. Another success for They Might Be Giants.