Monday, January 27, 2014

Children of the Dust Bowl

Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch CampChildren of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley

Children of the Dust Bowl briefly shares the trials and triumphs of Okies moving from Okalahoma to California. They were looked down upon and rejected. Their children were ridiculed and turned out of schools. Leo Hart saw the Okie children and knew they needed a safe place to live and learn. He helped to build Weedpatch school and became their voice and their savior.

The Dust Bowl was such an interesting part of American history. I knew bits and pieces, but never in-depth knowledge. This short piece of non-fiction was fascinating. I never knew that the Okies were rejected by so many and that their struggles were so heartbreaking. Stanley shares just a small glimpse of Weedpatch Camp history and it was heartening to hear about Hart's part in helping the migrant families. It only takes one person to make a difference! I would highly recommend this title to middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, and adults. The prejudice is harsh and shocking, but the growth of one school created by one man brought an entire county together again.

Fred Sullivan narrates Children of the Dust Bowl. I previously heard him read Mr. Lincoln's High-tech War. Again, it's an easy listen on the ears. Sullivan adds happiness and outrage when needed. I would listen to a book narrated by Sullivan again. He has a great voice for non-fiction.

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

Audio Book Details...
Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley
Read by Fred Sullivan
Produced by AudioGo
Number of Discs: MP3 Download
Total Time: 1.4 hours

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit

The Case of the Time-Capsule BanditThe Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer

Randi Rhodes is proud of her sleuthing that she employed as a detective in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Unfortunately, case number thirty-two is her last. Her father is moving the family - Randi and himself - to Deer Creek, Tennessee. From the hustle and bustle urban life to country living in a resort town. The biggest news is the celebration of Founders' Day and the opening of the 200 year old time-capsule. But boring small-town life quickly turns exciting when the historic time-capsule goes missing and strange secret service agents are swarming the town. Randi needs to dust off her detective skills and get to work!

The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit is the first Randi Rhodes mystery in the Randi Rhodes series. An untitled book number two is coming out in Fall of 2014.


I was so thrilled to receive an audiobook copy to review! Ms. Spencer brings so much energy to her movies, as well as, her narration from the audiobook, "The Help". I was vastly looking forward to hearing her voice again.

My first reaction to her audio was slight disappointment. Her narration was flatter than I thought it would be, but I need to step back from my castles in the air and listen to reality. She's reading a story, not putting on a play or movie. It's a fine reading! She's dynamic and gives her characters different voices and remains consistent throughout the book. At one point I did think she was showing off when she had so many different cultural characters in her story, but the location of her story is in a resort town. A resort brings in people from all over the area, so a wide variety of citizen (temporary or permanent) is natural. My favorite character was the cantankerous old man who is accused of stealing the time-capsule.

All in all, it's an easy-listen story. The mystery is fun and suspenseful. The town is small-town America where everyone knows everyone. Readers who like mysteries (or ninjas) will enjoy this book. If a young reader is going through a move, this could be a good story for them. I would recommend this book to tween readers (roughly, 4th-6th graders). I am interested to see what adventure Ms. Spencer creates for the next installment of Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio! The opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was offered to me for my review.

Audio Book Details...
The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer
Series: Book 1, Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective
Read by Octavia Spencer
Produced by Simon & Schuster Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 27 minutes
ISBN: 9781442364264
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