Recording information: Little Airplane Productions, New York City.
Illustrator: Cassandra Gibbons.
Records by the Laurie Berkner Band offered a winning indie sensibility directed toward children's music, and their high point, Rocketship Run, was one of the best collections of original children's songs of the 2000s. Berkner's 2012 Christmas album is technically a solo effort, and it shows in the arrangements, which are much closer to standard children's fare than Rocketship Run. A tad simplistic but always buoyant and light-hearted, the arrangements help Berkner shine in a solo role, and she contributes a few solid originals to the Christmas canon, most notably "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight" and "Christmas Lights." Berkner also earns points for not shying away from religious material; the program includes "Silent Night," "Do You Hear What I Hear?," and "Children Go Where I Send Thee." Children are heard on backing vocals throughout, always a plus on children's albums, and while A Laurie Berkner Christmas could have benefited from a little more band, it's still a solid Christmas record for the pre-teen audience. ~ John Bush