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Jazz Playground from Putumayo Kids is a fun, upbeat collection that will keep both kiddies and adults smiling. New Orleans artist Ingrid Lucia’s beautiful “This Little Light of Mine” is a standout; introduce the wee ones to live music with her upcoming appearance at the Children’s Museum on March 15. Other hits include “Spider-man” and “Agree & Disagree” (with lyrics including, “I like getting scruffy playing in the mud/And I like looking cute”). The album also includes the coolest versions of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Sing a Song of Sixpence” those little ears ever heard.

“Zuignapje” by Dutch group Trapperdetrap is a bit lost in translation as it sounds like Muppet-gibberish. The worldwide mix should generate some good discussion on the influence of New Orleans’ music.

Biography l This tender biography Big Chief Harrison and the Mardi Gras Indians follows Donald Harrison’s journey as a black man born in 1937 and as a Mardi Gras Indian, offering an insider’s view of the complex artistry of the Indians. Particularly endearing are the sentiments from Harrison’s wife Herreast, who contributed to the project through her husband’s final wishes. Al Kennedy’s respect for his strong-willed subject is tangible. He takes great care in relaying Harrison’s story and emphasizing the importance of preserving this unique cultural history.

Cookbook l Franklinton husband and wife team Jerald and Glenda Horst do it again with a handy guide to the water’s delicious delights. This time it’s The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crawfish. Spring in New Orleans is prime time for those hardy, family-friendly boils and this book will certainly get you in the mood for one or 100. The mudbug tome is chock-full of crawdad facts that make each peel more meaningful. Of course, recipes for everything crawfish – Red Crawfish Etouffee to Crawfish Cheesecake to Cheesy Crawfish Bread (as tasted at Jazz Fest) – give devotees a plethora of culinary challenges. Which seafood favorite will these two devour next?

Travel l Weird Louisiana by Roger Manley, presented by Weird U.S. authors Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran, is a believe-it-or-not encyclopedia of funky and kooky roadside attractions and intriguing historical sites mixed in with some yearly celebrations and people that are weird for some but the norm for locals. The bizarre natural and man-made finds in our state are both familiar and new, making browsing this book a guilty pleasure. Though, the UFOs and ghosts are more “yawn” than “goose bumps” – like the feeling one gets when seeing a haunted house turned into a special event hall in the off-season.


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