Rock Star to the Small Set

Children's music has a new icon, and adults love her too.

Introduction

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Crissy Piper

So here's my theory. When today's preschoolers become teenagers, the look that will be all the rage will be the petite redheaded earth mother with alabaster skin, purple pants, and sproingy banana curls. Girls will be emulating it, boys will be captivated by it -- and nobody will quite know why. But buried deep in their reptilian brains will be the memory of someone from childhood who thrilled and soothed in equal measure. A woman whose music could get them to gyrate wildly around a room or contemplate the beauty of a full moon shining bright. A woman who sang to them simply, eloquently, and often with a pig on her head.

"Umm ... okay!" says Laurie Berkner, 36, when I explain my theory, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. We're at a recording studio in Brooklyn, where she and the rest of her band -- husband/bassist Brian Mueller and keyboardist Susie Lampert -- have been filming a video for "I'm Gonna Catch You," destined to become another Berkner earworm right up there with "Victor Vito" (the megahit that spawned a children's book, Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco last year). She excuses herself to nurse her lookalike daughter, 1-year-old Lucy, who is chortling maniacally at the image of her mother bopping around on the video monitor. Today, thankfully, all is quiet on the baby front; a day earlier Lucy was in a much less cheerful mood, and to quell the sobbing, the trio had to stop taping and perform her favorite song in three-part harmony. No, not one of her mother's. Mom's music is all very well, but what Lucy really loves is the Beatles' "Good Day Sunshine."

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