Sure, Shockwave is a rock magazine. I’ll give you that. Yes, Dolly Parton is not remotely near our genre, and I praise her for never trying to cross over. She knows what she does remarkably well, and regardless of your musical preferences, you’ve got to give her that as well. When her publicist offered to let Shockwave Magazine review Dolly Parton’s new and first children’s CD I Believe in You, there was zero hesitation on my part. Many of the songs were inspired by books given away through Dolly Parton’s foundation, the Imagination Library, including the title track “I Believe in You” based on everyone’s favorite go-getter, The Little Engine That Could. It’s adorable as you might imagine with its choo-choo intro, and Dolly Parton’s storytelling flare. Her personality has a way of breaking through the tough exterior of adulthood as well, making it a CD you can stand for your kids to play over and over.
I Believe in You also includes Parton’s classic “Coat of Many Colors” as well as a bonus reading, by Dolly, of her book Coat of Many Colors. I admit without shame, “Together Forever” is catchy, and harkens the 9 to 5 years. Bedtime lullaby “I’m Here” almost made me cry, but then I toughened up, poured a strong glass of apple juice, and hugged my teddy. “Imagination” has little Caribbean flair to the melody, and try as I might to take this review seriously, I found myself grinning at Dolly’s infectious and playful delivery. Speaking of delivery, it doesn’t get any more precious than in “Chemo Hero,” and “Brave Little Soldier.” Yes, childhood illness may not be the happiest of subject matters, but Dolly Parton handles these unthinkable situations with levity by drawing out the inner strength inherent in baby warriors. It’s the voice you want to hear when you’re down. It’s the voice of encouragement and love.
The lessons and messages in I Believe in You are ones you want your children to memorize, and they are clearly delivered in a way your kids can hear and understand. Yes, it’s a children’s’ CD, but if they’re going to listen to any music geared to them, you cannot go wrong with Dolly Parton’s I Believe in You. Far more tolerable than Barney, far more talented than Beyoncé (compare the writing credits, for instance), you can hold your head high and gift this to every toddler on your Christmas list this year. All proceeds from the sale of I Believe in You go to support the Imagination Library, which to date has mailed 98,587,211 books to children from birth to age five, to encourage literacy as a pathway to the realization of their dreams.