NEW YORK (AP) – Music can be an essential survival tool for family road trips, according to Deborah Hunter, co-founder of LollipopRock!, but it has to be the right music. It basically has to be at least tolerated by parents, teens, tweens and toddlers.

LollipopRock! takes familiar tunes of the 1950s-90s and tweaks the lyrics to make them more family friendly. The new songs aim to combine playfulness, imagination and sweetness with themes such as heroes, bedtime and baby sitters.

Here’s an example from “Squirrels Just Want to Have Fun,” sung to the tune of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”:

In the park

I look up and see

Two squirrels chase each other

Round and round a big tree

Their tails are twirling

Look at them run

Oh, squirrels they wanna have fun

Yeah, squirrels just wanna have fun! Hoop!


I watch them scamper

Hide nuts in the trees

If you make a noise

Just look at them freeze

They do their tricks

Without a trapeze

Oh, squirrels they wanna have fun

Yeah, squirrels just wanna have fun!

LollipopRock CDs are online at, or by calling (866) 621-4143. They cost $14.99, plus shipping and handling.

Arthur audiobooks

NEW YORK (AP) – “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken is among the celebrities bringing Arthur the Aardvark to life in a new series of audiobooks called “Stories for Heroes.”

Aiken, who had been studying to become a teacher when he was selected to be on the Fox make-a-star show, says it didn’t take much convincing to participate in the project which benefits children’s charities, including his own. “When the National Education Association and the Glaser AIDS fund asked if I’d participate, I said, “I’d not only like to be involved, I want to be your spokesperson.”

Proceeds from the “Arthur Celebrity Audiobook,” available exclusively on through mid-August, will go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the National Education Association Health Information Network and the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which promotes inclusion of children with disabilities at school, camp and other activities.

“”Arthur’ books were some of the books I used to read kids as a special ed teacher. Some of the most popular books for third to fifth graders were Arthur,” Aiken tells The Associated Press. “The show is one of the very few cartoons now that’s not so commercialized; it’s on PBS for goodness sake!”

When dealing with young children, reading becomes more like a performance, says Aiken. “You have to make the story entertaining, it’s not like I’m doing Bill Clinton’s audio book. … For this, I had to do different voices for the characters and hit the punch lines a lot harder.”

Other celebrities who can be heard on the “Arthur” book are Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden and Kelly Ripa with music recorded by Ziggy Marley.

Walk for school

NEW YORK (AP) – Scholarship America, a nonprofit private-sector scholarship and educational support organization, is expanding its Easy Spirit Freedom Walk to nine cities.

The series of 5 kilometer walks will be held this fall in Seattle, St. Peter, Minn., Des Moines, Iowa, Indianapolis, Washington, New York, Wakefield, Mass., Chicago and Los Angeles.

Why walk?

Proceeds benefit Scholarship America’s Dollars for Scholars program, which distributes scholarships at the community level, as well as other nonprofit educational support organizations.

According to the group, in 2003, more than 400,000 high school graduates were not able to afford a four-year college education.

“The Easy Spirit Freedom Walk for Scholarship America is a vital initiative which we hope every student and parent planning for higher education will participate in. It’s never too early,” says William C. Nelsen, President of Scholarship America.

Easy Spirit also supports the charity by donating a portion of all sales from the Easy Spirit Freedom shoe, a white walking sneaker with blue trim, which is designated by a special hangtag.

On the Net:

AP-ES-07-05-04 0730EDT

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