We gave it a B+
Are kids really as crafty as adults seem to think they are? Most of the 13 songs on Joe Scruggs’ Abracadabra are wise-child tunes. Some demonstrate the cutest arguments kids use to get their ways, as in ”I’m Too Full for Broccoli” (”But I still have room for some pie”). Others just demonstrate the ways kids can be a real pain, as in the title song (Mother requests that kids use ”magic words” so one kids says ”abracadabra” and ”charge it,” not ”please” and ”thank you”).
This is all charming — or infuriating, depending on how recently you’ve had to discipline a preschooler. For all its visions of children mischief, Abracadabra is a tape parents can play safely without fear of inciting their own kids. Scruggs comes down squarely for broccoli, for ”please” and ”thank you,” for law and order. Occasionally he preaches, as in the accusatory ”Bubble Gum” (”I was the one/Who stepped in your gum!…Oh, please don’t throw it down”). And once in a while he misses completely; some of the ballads here are bland. But others — ”Train Song,” ”Nursery Rhymes” — are so pretty you’ll find yourself humming the tunes long after you’ve forgotten the words. B+