In the summer, our family often borrows unabridged books on CD – recorded books that entertain us all.
Last summer we listened to Beyond the Deep Woods (the Edge Chronicles Book 1) created by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. The audio book read by Clive Mantle. We were transported to the Deep Woods, a mysterious place full of odd creatures and many dangers as we followed the adventures of Twig on a quest to discover his true identity.
A thrilling fantasy!
Why are these recorded stories so wonderful? My top 5 reasons:
1. We have discovered many great authors through this process and have gone on to read other titles they have written (i.e. This is how we met the character Clementine and quickly went on to devour all of the Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker)
2. An audio book is a great way to introduce the first in a series and have your child read the rest of the series independently. My son read all of Cornelia Funke‘s Ghosthunters after we listened to Book 1 as an audio book.
3. A story becomes a shared family experience. We still read aloud to our children but it is usually one of us reading to them while the other parent finishes dinner clean up etc. While it is lovely to have a story just shared between a few of us it is equally lovely to all listen to a story together – lots of conversations happen throughout the day when we are listening to a story together. Predictions, debates, questions. We have enjoyed many stories together and we all get the references if we talk about the book in the future.
4. Think about long hours in a car or even short hours in a car with arguing children . . . Press play and all of the bickering instantly ends as the story takes over. What could be better?
5. I love reading aloud but sometimes it is really great to let someone else do it! And usually they are really awesome narrators, often with very cool accents and they have the dramatic pause down to an art.
Some of our favourites:
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM written by Robert C. O’Brien (winner of the Newbery Medal in 1972)
We just finished listening to this audio book narrated by Barbara Caruso (who has more than 100 recorded books to her credit). Enter the world of Mrs. Frisby, a widowed fieldmouse who needs to move her family to their summer house but her youngest son Timothy, has pneumonia and is too weak to travel. Mrs. Frisby must enlist help from the mysterious rats of NIHM. She gets much more than help from these brilliant rats.
A wonderful adventure story.
The Talented Clementine written by Sara Pennypacker
This story is narrated by Jessica Almasy who has the ideal voice to read this story – full of energy, young and perfectly animated. Read more about her here
Highly humorous, Clementine’s second adventure is well worth a listen. Clementine is convinced that she is the only untalented student in her third grade class and she is panicking as the evening of Talentpaloosa: Night of the Stars approaches. Laugh out loud funny. We highly enjoyed this story.
The Secret of Platform 13 written by Eva Ibbotson.
This story was narrated by Angela Thorne, possibly our absolute favourite narrator. We could have listened to Ibbotson’s magical tale forever. In this magical fantasy, the beloved baby prince of the Island is kidnapped and cannot be rescued for nine long years until the gump opens again between London and the Island, a magical place inhabited by delightful creatures. The rescue party faces many obstacles – the most difficult perhaps – tolerating the nine year old prince, raised and horribly spoiled by the awful Mrs. Trottle.
After listening to this story last summer, I went on to read the book to my class and it was a favourite.
Head off to your local library and check out some audio titles. Happy listening!