Brisbane welcomes The Essential Baby & Toddler Show to town for the first time next month as well as a host of opportunities to shop, learn and be thoroughly entertained. In fact, you’ll be surprised by who you see on stage alongside a lion, gorilla, giraffe and a horse…


In Brisbane for the first time next month, The Essential Baby & Toddler Show brings with it hundreds of brands, samples, discounts, expert parenting advice and demonstrations for new mums and mummas-to-be. It will also be a homecoming of sorts for TV celebrity and Brisbane export, Shelley Craft.


A veteran of the television industry with 20 years of experience, Shelley actually began her career at the age of 17 at Warner Bros Movie World as an attraction presenter and in a character suit dressed as – wait for it – Daffy Duck! She went on to roles at the Seven Network’s popular kids show Saturday Disney, The Great Outdoors, Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show and, of course, The Block.


But what you may not have known is that Shelley, now based at Byron Bay, is also one half of the emerging children’s live entertainment act Animals Rock which is set to feature at The Essential Baby & Toddler Show in March.


Described by Shelley as “adult friendly with infectious sounds”, she explains that Animals Rock was actually the brainchild of fellow Byron Bay local Beau Young. Beau is an Australian singer, songwriter and musician (not to mention, two-times world champion surfer!). With his career in the folk rock/acoustic genre kicking along, Beau was approached to write a theme song for a children’s toy company leading him to discover his love of making music for little people while upholding ‘big-people’ sophistication in each song. Wanting to bring this adult standard to children’s entertainment, Beau set out to create authentic folk rock for preschoolers with an educational undertone.


In 2011, Beau took his songs on the road, playing to local school kids in the Byron area. In a twist of fate, his tour took him to Shelley’s daughter’s daycare centre and the rest, as they say, is children’s music history.


Animals Rock-On The Farm-SQUAREShelley says she started out as “Number 1 groupie” of Animals Rock, with the band’s music in constant rotation throughout Shelley’s home and in the family car. Shelley soon became an official band member, bringing her extensive knowledge, undeniable energy, love of entertaining kids and sweet dance moves with her, to the delight of daughters Milla, 4, and Eadie, 3.


“The girls sing along and know all the moves!” she says.


As well as Beau and Shelley, the Animals Rock band includes characters Leonius Funk (king of the jungle and the band, Leonius is always introducing and playing different instruments that he believes work for each animal song), Ginger (the stylin’ giraffe backing vocalist who is an inquisitive, smooth, sweet soul sister who helps out Beau with his lyrics), Gordo (the drum-playing gorilla who is surprisingly quiet and sleepy with a love of bananas – simply hand him a banana smoothie and watch him hit the drums!) and Lila (a happy horse who plays the bass guitar, believes in fairies, wears bell-bottom pants and likes to dance in the rain).


What began as a labour of love for Beau and Shelley, Animals Rock finally hit the airwaves with thanks to the support of the ABC which is helping the pair spread the band’s lovable sounds to households across the country.


With friends like Ben Harper, Ash Grunwald and Jack Johnson providing input along the Animals Rock journey, Shelley and Beau’s passion for producing genuinely adult-friendly kids’ music is only going from strength to strength.


Check out Animals Rock at The Essential Baby & Toddler Show, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, from March 4-6. You can also get your baby carrier, bottles, clothes, nappies, keepsakes, nursery furnishings, safety appliances, prams and more sorted in the one place. Take a stroller for a test-drive on the unique Pram Trial Track or stop by The Advice Hub for access to personalised consultations on a range of parenting topics. On stage, visitors will hear from ever-popular infant sleep and settling guru Pinky McKay as well as children’s act Peppa Pig. Your kids might even get to meet Peppa and the Animals Rock gang at the special meet-and-greet area after each performance.


If you register online before March 3, entry to The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is free.


Visit www.babyandtoddlershow.com.au




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