I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children

I Eat Kids

and Other Songs for Rebellious Children

“This pioneering children’s entertainer currently has a resume that would make many in his niche nervous. He’s produced more than a dozen albums and nearly as many children’s books, done live programs in most of the 50 states and D.C. (including at the White House and Kennedy Center), toured Europe several times and starred on an Emmy Award-winning children’s show, “Field Trip.” Generations of youngsters and even “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird have sung Mr. Polisar’s colorful tunes.”
– The Washington Times, Washington, DC

“Barry Louis Polisar has been creating and performing kids’ music longer and more consistently than anybody else I am aware of–and he has been more successful doing that than just about everybody else in the field. Barry celebrates the way that kids are, not the idealized way that grown-ups want them to be. It’s no wonder that kids have made Barry so popular for so long. He speaks to them like no other writer.”
– Cool Tunes For Kids Music

A refreshing breakthrough in children’s music when released in 1975, Barry broke a lot of conventions in children’s music with this first basement recording. Barry’s voice was often off-key and his guitar was out-of-tune, but that didn’t matter in this early recording–it was the subjects he sang about that counted and the rough sound just added to the style. The baby on the cover is Jennifer Hall and she recently emailed Barry to let him know that she is all grown-up now and has a band of her own in Los Angeles.

Polisar Speaks for the Kids!

by Warren Truitt, About.com 
Guide to Children’s Music

August, 2012

Barry Louis Polisar – I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children

No one saw it coming in the mid 1970s when Barry Louis Polisar’s debut kids’ album appeared on the record store shelves. Music for children up to that point had been, at its most reverent, folky renditions of traditional tunes, and at its most irreverent, silly songs like “On Top of Spaghetti.” Out of nowhere came a guy singing songs about mean teachers, not using manners, and shutting up in the library. “I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children” is like a collaboration amongst The Dead Milkmen, Bob Dylan, and Weird Al Yankovic, and if you read between the lines of these silly songs you’ll find one of the most socially and politically driven albums this side of Pete Seeger. Make sure to check out the liner notes of the original album release!

The Artist 

Barry Louis Polisar has been recording music for kids for almost forty years. His debut album “I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children” made lots of kids laugh and riled up lots of grown ups when it was released in 1975, but Polisar hasn’t looked back since. His simple, unpolished vocals and acoustic guitar have graced a dozen or so CDs that still induce giggles, spit takes, and grins. Polisar is probably most famous for the inclusion of his song “All I Want is YoU” in the 2007 movie Juno and on the accompanying soundtrack Juno: Music from the Motion Picture. “All I Want is You” originally appeared on Polisar’s 1977 album “My Brother Thinks He’s a Banana and Other Provocative Songs for Children.”

The Music of ‘I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children’ 

On “I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children,” Polisar covers adult-centered subjects as diverse as pollution and priorities (“I Don’t Brush My Teeth and I Never Comb My Hair”), perpetuating job security (“My Dentist is an Awfully Nice Man”), and vegetarianism (“I Eat Kids”), all with a keen sense of wit and sarcasm. Polisar also speaks for children through songs like “Shut Up in the Library,” “To Mommy,” “He Eats Asparagus, Why Can’t You Be That Way?” and “I Don’t Believe You’re Going to the Bathroom.” He’s great at looking at the world from a kid’s point of view and expressing the frustration, confusion, and anger children feel when grown ups say one thing but do another.

More Music from ‘I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children’ 

Polisar tackles other heavy subjects like the futility of war (“When Suzie Sneezed”), making one’s life meaningful (“My Friend Jake”)” and the longing for understanding (“Fred”). Of course, Polisar includes a couple of simple, tender love songs like “Me and You” and “I Need You Like a Doughnut Needs a Hole” to lighten up the intense silliness of “I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children.” If “All I Want is You” drew you to Polisar in the first place, then these two tunes will be right up your musical alley.

The Verdict 

Polished? No. Unfailingly in tune? No. Session musician-grade instrumentation? No. But Barry Louis Polisar and his acoustic guitar pack more power in their unadorned glory than most studio-produced music projects. Polisar is irreverent, sarcastic, funny, and knows what kids like to hear. Above all, Barry Louis Polisar is an intelligent, opinionated guy who has the ability to get his message across via seemingly silly kids’ tunes. I mean, how many children’s musicians nowadays quote T.S. Eliot in their CD liner notes?

I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children–Released 1975. 

Track Listing 

1. He Eats Asparagus, Why Can’t You Be That Way?
2. I’m A Three-Toed, Triple Eyed, Double Jointed Dinosaur
3. I Don’t Brush My Teeth and I Never Comb My Hair
4. My Dentist is an Awfully Nice Man
5. I Eat Kids
6. Need You Like a Donut Needs a Hole
7. I Never Did Like You Anyhow
8. To Mommy
9. Shut Up in the Library
10. I Don’t Believe You’re Going to the Bathroom
11. I Sneaked Into the Kitchen in the Middle of the Night
12. Fred
13. I’ve Got a Teacher, She’s So Mean
14. Me and You
15. Giggle Tickle Fiddle Little Wiggle Around
16. When Suzie Sneezed
17. My Friend Jake
18. Early Sunday Morning
19. Louder

The cover is a classic and the expression on that baby’s face is a perfect combination of worry and dread for an album called I Eat Kids. The baby was Jennifer Hall, the daughter of Barry’s friends and fellow performing artists, Jim and Bonnie Hall. Barry toured with Jim and Bonnie one wonderful summer in 1975 but had lost touch and wondered whatever became of Jennifer, the original cover girl.

One day in late August, 2007, an order came in for a copy of the CD from a Jennifer Hall. Could this be 
the Jennifer Hall, Barry wondered? 
We don’t think she wears the overalls anymore but Barry and Jennifer’s paths have crossed again at last. With a wonderful voice, she is now the lead singer for the group Watermethod, based in Los Angeles. She and her band recorded one of Barry’s songs from I Eat Kids for the tribute album We’re Not Kidding!