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Fine Diamonds at Chapters

With titles like "Four Hugs a Day," "I am a Pizza," "The Hug Bug" and "Dicky Dicky Dinosaur," singer Charlotte Diamond has been making kids and adults alike smile for 25 years.

With titles like "Four Hugs a Day," "I am a Pizza," "The Hug Bug" and "Dicky Dicky Dinosaur," singer Charlotte Diamond has been making kids and adults alike smile for 25 years.

She'll be celebrating that milestone, as well as launching her latest album, 24 Carrot Diamond - the Best of Charlotte Diamond, at Chapters in Pinetree Village on Dec. 18.

"It was really fun to put together," Diamond said of the album that features all her biggest hits.

The Richmond resident has had a lifelong interest in music, singing with local folk groups while studying zoology and French at UBC before going on to teach high school for the next 12 years.

When her own two kids were born Diamond began singing and writing songs for them; after developing a preschool music program in her community she was getting frequent requests to perform for schools and workshops. Pretty soon she was playing concerts around Vancouver and throughout B.C.

She formed the Hug Bug Band and released her first album, 10 Carrot Diamond, which won a Juno Award in 1986.

"It was so successful it launched the career I never thought I would have," Diamond said; 25 years later Diamond has produced 13 albums, two DVDs and several music books.

She's been recognized with five Parents' Choice Awards and three American Library Association Awards.

The 24 Carrot Diamond CD is a celebration of her best-known songs, including "All the Nations Like Banana," "Each of us is a Flower," "La Bamba," and "Octopus."

"They're very singable, not only for kids but also for parents," Diamond said, particularly songs like "The Laundry," "Looking for Dracula," and "You Never Praise me Enough," which show the "slightly darker side of life for parents."

It's important to have a variety, she added, with some tracks that are more oriented to quieter, thoughtful times to balance out the upbeat rhythms of "Banana" and "I am a Pizza."

"The time parents get to spend with their children goes by so fast, and things like singing together or making cookies together or building something together where maybe you can sing a song or have fun playing around with music, it's so crucial because that's what kids remember," Diamond said.

A perennial Golden Spike Days and Festival du Bois favourite, Diamond and her music have played a big role in the lives of countless kids here and abroad (she's toured Canada, the U.S. and Costa Rica several times).

Her own two boys, now aged 36 and 33, were her initial inspiration and are now part of the family entertainment business. They've grown up on "Four Hugs a Day" and learned early on to "Leave the World a Little Better."

Now Diamond's grandchildren, including two-year-old Jakob and four-year-old William, who live in Port Moody with their parents, are providing new material for her to work with.

"I Have Shoes and I Can Walk," an as-yet unrecorded song Diamond will sing at Chapters, was written for William a couple of years ago when "he would just run run run everywhere," Diamond laughed.

"One of the verses is 'I have shoes and I can stop.' William got the idea and it really worked."

Charlotte Diamond is at Coquitlam's Chapters in Pinetree Village Dec. 18 at 11:30 a.m. to sing and sign autographs.