Hosted by award-winning, Los Angeles-based, singer-songwriters-entertainers Andrew Barkan and Polly Hall (married and parents themselves), Ear Snacks is almost like a child’s A Prairie Home Companion, entertaining and filled with sweetness and kids’ voices and wonder.
Andrew and Polly are the friendly, likeable co-hosts whose schtick and songs are a comfort zone for littles, and for parents who otherwise must endure some children’s programming. Their mission: bring music, science, art and culture to kids in fun-filled, family-friendly, compelling podcasts that parents can enjoy. And, they’re good at it.
The first episode, of more than 100 available for free, is all about…fruit. Andrew and Polly start out naming a fruit for each letter of the alphabet. Suddenly, they segue into one of their most popular songs, “Grapes,” about eating grapes. That transitions into chatting with a talking frog that likes fruit. You get the idea: The entire 18-minute episode is filled with entertaining songs, humorous conversations, good questions, and laughter, about fruit. Do you think bears like berries? Does that mean chairs like cherries?
Other episodes cover such topics as “Taking Care of Teeth” and “How to Talk Like a Pirate.” All of them subtly interject facts into the entertainment, such as “The San Andreas Fault grows about the same rate as our toenails grow. About 2 inches a year.” When hard words come up, like “germinate” does in the Seeds episode, casual definitions immediately follow.
The music? Kid-adjusted exceptional, from Andrew and Polly’s popular songs such as “Grapes” and “Dancing Pants,” to their kid-friendly covers of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” and “Ghostbusters.”
From sounds effects and endearing kids’ voices (often voiced by kiddie guests) to the background of soft, calming music, from quirky songs to creative and educational narrative, this podcast is lovable. “Without imagination, an idea would be like…a refrigerator,” says a guest kid at the start of one episode. “That is not an idea. A refriger-gator is an idea.” Ear Snacks is a good idea.
Don Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.