Do you remember the story of the elves and the shoemaker? And how the elves, working all night, would create pairs of exquisitely executed shoes, boots, and sandals to the surprise and the delight of the waking shoemaker...Well, I'm not saying that Bill Thomas is an elf or a shoemaker...but rather that it is his work that you will have enjoyed when the last strains of this collection of intelligent imagination have faded away. Herewith, then, are fourteen songs performed by Bill and nine of his friends...exuberant, encouraging pieces written by Bill for the child of four to forty, voices selected by Bill to suit the mood and the message, the arrangements nurtured and encouraged by Bill. If you enjoy the cover artistry of Kay Chorao, it's because Bill chose her work to best represent the whimsy and wonderment on this, his first CD of material gathered from his years with Captain Kangaroo. This is a rich collection of original material, not only rich in terms of numbers, but rich in what the songs encourage in us as a listener...some of the songs are so visually provocative, you might even find yourself looking for that box of crayons you set aside for a rainy day, or remembering some of the feelings you had while growing up...like 'What's Out in the Dark?' or what you felt when your best friend moved away...'Hard to Say Goodbye'. This CD might well have been called the Circle Family after one of Bill's tunes on here...after all, after spending a listening with these songs, we find our connections to one another in our strength and even in our weakness, certainly in our laughter and love. Bill's rich imagination, coupled with his concern for the child's individual growth make his music impossible not to share. Of course, it's a good thing that you, the parent, will like the songs too...for you'll be hearing yourself, and your child singing them around the house until the next Bill Thomas recording is released. Noel Paul Stookey...Peter, Paul and Mary.