Friday, May 31, 2013

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Applegate personifies a great silverback gorilla who lives as an entertainer in a mall. She doesn't go so far as to write a book that embraces anthropomorphism. (Huzzah!) It's a fictionalized story of animal entertainers. They tell their stories in their words and interact with humans with touches, looks, and art. It's very well done. Listeners (and readers) will befriend these circus animals, root for them, cry for them, and rejoice with them. Ivan's tale also lends itself well to many research projects for students (and animal lovers).

Adam Grupper narrates Ivan's story. Grupper is a new name to me ears. With his gruff, deep voice that kept going and going, it took me a bit to remain with the story. I was surprised and taken aback with the introductions of each new character voice. Grupper did a fabulous job! The gruff, deep voice suits the old silverback, Ivan. His female characters sound great and he adds zing to Bob and Mack. It's a great listen.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Read by Adam Grupper
Produced by Harper Audio
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 3 hours
ISBN: 9780062285300

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss MaloneThe Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curtis shares the story of the Malone family through the eyes of their twelve-year-old "darling daughter Deza." The listener (or reader) jumps in their story during the Great Depression in Gary, Indiana. The Malone's are making their way, but troubles are just around the corner. Soon the Malones are on the move to Mr. Malone's hometown in Michigan seeking a better life.

I heard the reviews and I know that Curtis is highly acclaimed, but I never listened (or read) his books before this point. This story was brought to my attention because of a book committee. With slightly dragging feet, I found the audio and began to listen. After the first chapter, I was hooked. Curtis weaves an amazing story that wraps around the listener and begs you to keep listening. The Malone's live through tragic and wonderful circumstances during the Great Depression. It's historical fiction at it's best. I wanted to know more after the book ended.

Bahni Turpin narrated Deza's story. She also narrated characters in The Help. She has a great voice and personality for The Mighty Miss Malone characters. It was an excellent narration.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Read by Bahni Turpin
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 7 hours, 59 minutes
ISBN: 9780307968227

Friday, May 17, 2013

Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the WoodsLast Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Will you or your child be the Last Child in the Woods?

Louv dives into how people (children especially) interact with nature. With today's modern marvels, we distance ourselves from the outdoors. We've created fear that never existed before when dealing with trees... woods... nature. Louv also shares examples and resources to overcome the fear, or the boogieman. He offers research of the benefits of being outdoors.

It's an eye opening listen (or read). It's been recommended to me, but it never made it onto my must read until a local book festival chose it for their city read. I'm so happy that I chose to read it along with everyone. It's a fantastic book. I understand why a friend recommended it to me. Times have changed, but nature has remained the same. I know that I fear the wildness, but also appreciate the peace and beautiful it offers. I would encourage all listeners (and readers) to give this book a try.

Jonathan Hogan narrated Louv's book. His voice was excellent for this non-fiction piece. The story wasn't dynamic, but it was thought provoking and Hogan's tempo was spot on.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Read by Jonathan Hogan
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 10
Total Time: 12 hours
ISBN: 9781428169661

Friday, May 10, 2013

Iron Hearted Violet

Iron Hearted VioletIron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill

Can you describe a princess? It's all relative. It's also changeable.

Violet is the Princess, but she's also extraordinary. She doesn't look like a beautiful princess told in stories all over the Multiverse, but she's courageous, imaginative, and friendly. She befriends Demetrius and they explore her castle with abandon, only to stumble upon a secret room and uncover a dark secret. The secret grows and brings unrest to their world. Destruction follows, but if they work together and uncover the truth, the kingdom can survive!

I listened to Barnhill's book between other stories and books, so it wasn't as smooth as my usually audiobook timing. I enjoy the fantasy genre and this ranks at the top for middle schoolers. If listeners (or readers) enjoy dragon tales, this would be a great pick for them. It also contains mystery, storytelling, and unlikely heroes. It's not a happy-go-luck, but mysterious while dark and sorrowful at times. I wouldn't recommend this to every reader, but if you're interested in fantasy or dragon stories, I would recommend you to give it a go! It's very unique, especially, because Violet doesn't share her story, but the castle's storyteller: Cassian.

Simon Vance narrates Iron Hearted Violet. As stated previously, the storyteller is a male voice, so having Mr. Vance read the story works very well with the text. He's a stellar reader and he offers a nice range of characters from ladies to gents and fantastical creatures.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, AudioGo!

Audio Book Details...
Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
Read by Simon Vance
Produced by AudioGo Ltd
Number of Discs: MP3 Download
Total Time: 7 hours, 21 minutes
ISBN: 9781619696006

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SYNC is Coming!

"SYNC is the audiobook publishers’ and AudioFile Magazine’s commitment to introducing the listening experience to your young adult audience."

And they are amazing! Over the summer they strive to introduce listeners to a wide range of books. The extraordinary part of the SYNC project ... it's free! (Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!) Every week they offer a new titles - one Young Adult title paired with one Classic title. They also offer a free tool kit for Libraries, Educators, Bloggers & Press to help share and promote this amazing service.

I cannot wait for May 30th! The summer begins with titles provided by AudioGo. They are sharing Of Poseidon by Anna Banks and The Tempest by William Shakespeare.
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