The Best Candy in the Whole World sounds like a junk-food addict’s dream come true, and — in a way — it is. Bill Harley is a musician and a storyteller. Here in North Carolina, storytellers are legend. There are some well known, but I’ve never sat and listened to one because I, like one of Harley’s character, am “easily distracted.”
While Harley’s songs and stories are targeted at children, they are entertaining enough to hold the attention of someone whose mind is known to wander great distances while supposedly listening to the details of someone else’s day. One reason is that Harley has a very pleasant voice, and it’s a nice experience to listen to him speak.
Harley is also very funny. Noticing that two of the stories (“The Best Candy in the Whole World” and “Jack and the Singing Leaves”) on his newest CD exceed 20 minutes each, I thought it would be challenging to stay focused on what I was hearing. No challenge at all. The stories are quite clever, Harley uses a variety of voices speaking for the characters, and the suspense is deep enough to hold one’s interest. In fact, there are times when the listener knows Harley is coming to the end of the story and wishes it would last longer.
Bill Harley has two gifts important for a storyteller, timing and rhythm. His stories about children capture the way kids think and speak; the rhythm of his speech and his timing draw the listener in. Most of his stories feature irony-lite, ironic enough for kids to get it, without it being disturbing.
The Best Candy in the Whole World is perfect for little passengers on long trips, but it will also entertain the driver and any adult passengers. The shorter stories (“A Walk around the Block,” “The Boy Who Hid in a Peanut,” and “Sillier Than You”) could be bedtime stories for those nights when Mom or Dad’s imagination is just not up to par. Warning: upon hearing Bill Harley, child may very well prefer him to Mom or Dad.
Right now I’ve got the “Sillier Than You” song going ‘round in my head, and it’s not disagreeable at all. I’m going to keep it on reserve for those awful times I’m stuck with “It’s a Small World” haunting me. Bill Harley and The Best Candy in the Whole World are fun for the entire family—a good excuse to sit around and do nothing but listen. And laugh.
Bottom Line: Would I buy The Best Candy in the Whole World? Yes ma’am, sir. It is an absolute delight — and I don’t need the kids around to listen to it (click here for samples). Scheduled release date is September 14.