Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CD Review: One Hundred Sheep

One Hundred Sheep: Skip Counting Songs from the Gospels, music and lyrics by Roger Nichols

I bought this CD for First Daughter's baptism anniversary present. I wanted something fun related to the faith and was intrigued by the idea of teaching skip counting with music. It's something we've touched on here on the Range, mainly when I count by twos and the kids laugh as if I were playing a trick. First Son can count by tens and fives (sometimes) but I admit it's not something I concentrate on very much. Personally, I still feel like my six, seven, eight and nine multiplication facts are not as strong as the others and I wondered if this CD could help the kids feel more confident than I do. (I want point out my multiplication skills are totally adequate, I just have confidence issues about them.)

So, the morning after she received it, we put the CD in while driving to town and listened...and we've been enjoying it ever since. The songs are children's songs, but Kansas Dad assures me they are not annoying. (I think I've become immune to inane children's music. The only songs I have trouble enjoying are those from the LarryBoy soundtracks because I was in my first trimester with First Daughter when we started listening to a LarryBoy CD non-stop and I still feel a little queasy every time the theme song plays.) Keep in mind, though, that some of the words and phrases can be a little silly.

The songs are drawn from lots of different Gospel stories: Jesus' birth and life, miracles, parables, Zacchaeus's conversion and so on.

My favorite song is Thirty-Three Wonder-filled Years, counting by threes as we sing about Jesus' life.
The child grew in wisdom, in stature, and in favor
with God and with man
such a wonderful behavior.
Now a man and fully given over to the Spirit,
He went abroad to speak of God
to any who would hear it.
For the sixes, the song follows Martha into the kitchen, where she's counting the dirty dishes and Mary sits at Jesus' feet.
Martha, Martha why
are you so upset?
There will always be things to clean
but how often do you get
to be with Me and this is what your sister sees.
In The Fisher of Men Catches a Fisherman, Jesus tells Peter to throw his net over the side of the boat and the catch is counted by sevens. The call of Peter shows clearly in the song:
Throw once more on the other side
and laughing at the thought,
but thinking deep inside himself
it was he who had been caught
by the Master Fisherman
with the friendly plot.
The counting in each song is in the refrain, so it's repeated multiple times. Does it work? Well, it has for my kids! First Son is easily counting by twos and threes now and recognizing even numbers in books as counting by twos. First Daughter is working well on her fives and tens. We're still doing addition and subtraction and won't be teaching multiplication for a while yet, but I think remembering this song (and singing along again) will be a valuable part of our multiplication tables.

One of the things I most appreciate about the CD is that the notes include all the lyrics. Sometimes it's hard to be exactly sure what's being sung on some CDs and the lyrics always help. They also include references for all the stories, which is helpful if you want to quickly look up a parable to read with the kids. Because it follows the Gospels closely, this CD is appropriate for all Christians, not just Catholics.

Please note: I purchased this CD myself and have not received anything for this review.


  1. So cool! Thanks for sharing your review. This may be one for us down the road. Did you see the chant one I posted on my FB a few weeks ago. We may be getting it as well, it looks great!

  2. I bet my kids would love this. Perhaps I'll add it to their Christmas list!

  3. Monica, I did see the link of the Chant CD. This one is definitely catchier. (Is that a word?)

    Hilary, I think your kids would love this, especially Simon with his love of math and numbers.

    Incidentally, First Son was supposed to work on counting by twos yesterday and we ended up skipping the lesson when he decided to count by twos using the number chart and singing the refrain from the CD without any prompting by me. He didn't even know that's what the lesson was yet!


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