In Praise of…Barry Louis Polisar

A runaway dog. A vomiting little brother. A voracious dinosaur who munches on metal. What kid wouldn’t love to hear catchy, memorable songs about topics like those? 

Kids can if their parents dig back into the archives of 1970’s & 1980’s music to unearth some musical gems from a man named Barry Louis Polisar. He’s not a household name but anyone who saw the movie, “Juno” a few years back likely knows his song, “All I Want is You,” a sweet, thoughtful love song that will have you humming it the rest of the day with a perma-smile. 

When I was kid my mother took my sister and I to see Polisar at a museum in Maryland, Polisar’s hometown. His infectious energy and songs about ridiculous topics — “My Brother Thinks He’s a Banana”, “My Brother Threw Up on my Stuffed Toy Bunny” and “Our Dog Bernard” were seared into my memory. Not only are the songs funny and witty but they’re also anti-Barney or Teletubbies. These are songs that awaken a child’s imagination and leave them singing along on the 3rd or 9th listen. 

Don’t take my word for it, though. Hear it for yourself: 

As soon as my kids were a few years old I bought one of Polisar’s albums and played it for my kids. They weren’t old enough to catch the jokes or appreciate the humor. But now, I think my kids are in a Polisar sweet spot. At ages 7 & 6, they love to hear about a boy who refuses to do his homework and chores or a monster in the bathtub that refuses to let a kid take a bath. It’s non-stop comedy gold for them. 

And it’s fun for my wife and I, too. On a recent road trip all four of us sang some of his songs at top volume, eliciting maximum laughs. 

Barry Louis Polisar, thank you for dedicating your career to making kids smile, laugh and crave a musical indulgence. In fact, thank you for giving us parents the same gift, too. 

To learn more about Polisar, visit http://barrylou.com

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