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Old Mr. Mackle Hackle

I'm Growing

Reviews > Ants in My Pants! buy ants in my pants!
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

'Ants in My Pants' a Witty, A Capella Musical Delight

January 3, 2002

by Lynne Heffley

Gunnar Madsen, founding member of the a capella group the Bobs, broke into children's and family music with his delightfully original 1999 release, "Old Mr. Mackle Hackle." His unique follow-up is even better. Again as much for adults to enjoy as children, with fab, sophisticated instrumentals and vocals--some from his a cappella roots--gorgeous melodies, and musical references to classic Elvis, doo-wop, early 1960s rock and 1940s singing cowboys. It's as witty as all get-out and often unexpectedly touching, too, reflecting Madsen's gift for marrying zany lyrics with lovely melodies.

A few of many standouts: "Welcome to My Fog," comfort for any kid who struggles with a short attention span; the wonderfully lugubrious "Ballad of the Lonesome Rider" ("I am a cowboy born to weep/See how my tears water the desert"); the wacky, theatrical, "And the Children Rolled," about the round and rambling offspring of a crooked man and "a lady as straight as a pin." Also, songs about car trips are a children's music staple, but Madsen's "Are We There Yet?" defies expectations. It's an exquisitely mellow, Harry Nilsson-ish invitation to dream as the miles go by.


Parents' Choice Foundation

   Midwest Book Review 
United Parent Publications 
ACLNC (Children's Librarians)