Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Nuts to You

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins

Hello, anthropomorphism. We meet again.

Nuts to You is a story of four squirrels. One squirrel gets removed from his grove and his friends go in search of him. Along the way, they meet other squirrels and become friends as well as squirrel rescuers. They need to move their grove to a new grove because humans are clearing the the forest away from the electrical lines. It's a story about friendship, travel, stories, and conservation.

The story was okay for me. (Your experience can be totally different!) What threw me off the most was the beginning author's note, where a squirrel approached the author to eat part of her sandwich and then share his story. It wasn't until I had the book in my hand that I saw there was an ending author's note to finish the beginning squirrel/human dialogue. I didn't hear the second author's note title, so it ran together with the story at the end. That was very confusing to me.

I think beginning chapter readers and animal lovers will enjoy this book. The story would be a good one for family car trips. The actually book has illustrations throughout with wide set lines in short chapters. I didn't know about all the illustrations when I listened to the audiobook and I understood the story just fine without any of the artwork.

Even though this story didn't peak my interest, the narration was great! I liked listening to Jessica Almasy. I've heard her read West of the Moon, Twelve Kinds of Ice, and Operation Yes. Her voice is youthful and energetic. It was also good to hear the squirrel names rather than reading them. Just to name a few names - TsTs, Chrika, and Tsam. Those names would stump me if I has reading it myself. There is another female voice that assists with technical information on the discs (end of disc one, etc). Recorded Books also prints the track number with the chapters on the disc. I think that's a nice touch for readers, especially for readers who follow along with the book as they listen to the audiobook.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Recorded Books!

Recorded Books

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit and Friends

Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit and Friends is a collection of short stories and nursery rhymes. This title is also a 2015 Audie nomination in the Children’s Titles for Ages up to 8 category Here is a list of the titles included on the audiobook:

—"The Tale of Peter Rabbit"
—"The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin"
—"The Tailor of Gloucester"
—"The Tale of Benjamin Bunny"
—"The Tale of Two Bad Mice"
—"The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle"
—"The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher"

—"The Tale of Tom Kitten"
—"The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck"

—"The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies"
—"The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse"
—"The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes"
—"The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse"
—"The Tale of Mr. Tod"
—"The Tale of Pigling Bland"
—"The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding"
—"The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan"
—"The Tale of Ginger and Pickles"
—"The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit"
—"The Story of Miss Moppet"
—"Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes"
—"Cecily Parseley's Nursery Rhymes"

The audiobook I checked out from the library did not include a book with it BUT Tantor Media includes a PDF eBook on disc one! I think that detail is fantastic.

Katherine Kellgren narrates Peter Rabbit and Friends. I adore listening to Kellgren and the stories she narrates. She brings so much life to each audiobook! Peter Rabbit and Friends was no exception. Beatrix Potter was a British children's author and Kellgren with her British accent is a perfect fit. She brings classical stories to a new generation of listeners.

I grew up with a one book collection of Beatrix Potter stories. When I listened to this audio collection, it brought back fond memories of paging through the book. It was so easy for me to bring Potter's illustrations to mind. It was also fascinating to hear how all the stories were connected to each other. I never realized that most of her characters either are in multiple stories or are referenced in other stories. Potter created her own little animal village. These tales are so charming!

Listening to them one after another was a bit tedious for me. By disc three, I was ready to pull the plug on my player but I was so close to the end that I just finished. I think a short musical interlude between stories would have been lovely touch, but one story just followed another.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Tantor Audio

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Looking at Lincoln

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman

Abraham Lincoln is a familiar face because his profile can be seen on U.S. currency. But Lincoln is also a familiar name because he was our 16th president. Beyond his face and name, who was he? What did he do? Where did he grow up? Author Maira Kalman shares a picture book full of historical tidbits about Abraham Lincoln.

Kalman begins with someone recognizing Lincoln then going to the library to discover more about him. The information in the book follows Lincoln's life from his birth in Kentucky to his death at the theater. It's a very compact biography with lots of wonderful highlights. Elementary students reading (or listening) to biographies would enjoy this one.

I listened to the audiobook without paging through the picture book biography. The story flows well without the need for the book, but the book is a fine addition if listeners want to follow along with the CD. It's a very artistic book with illustrations done in gouache. The book also includes additional notes about the facts used in the book as well as sources.

Elizabeth Cottle reads Looking at Lincoln. I enjoyed listening to her voice and appreciated her pacing of the book. The pace was slow enough to contemplate the facts and fast enough to not grow bored with the story. As I stated previously, this would be a good match for elementary students.

Dreamscape added music at the beginning, end, and for a short part during the last third of the book (a dramatic part, talking about the Civil War). The music was well suited to the story - strings, drums, and horns. (If my listening skills are off, fellow listeners, please let me know.) Other sound effects were added throughout the story to highlight different moments - a gunshot, outdoor nature sounds, the "traditional" shh at the library. I don't think the sound effects took away from the storyline. They fit in well and you could hear the the narrator during the sound effects and over the music.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Dreamscape Media, LLC!

Dreamscape Media, LLC

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: The Drop Box

The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie

I heard about The Drop Box film from a local radio station, WEMI. They advertised it's short showing at area movie theaters: March 3-5, 2015. I also had some Facebook friends talking about going to see the movie. I was intrigued, but put it on the back burner with the thought, "It will be out on DVD soon." And now I am waiting for it to be available...

The Drop Box Audiobook reviewed by Miss Pippi on Adolescent Audio AventuresExciting news for those who are waiting along with me, Brian Ivie (with Ted Kluck) wrote a book about his experience filming The Drop Box. It's an autobiography on how his trip to South Korea changed his life and led him to see the need for a Savior and become authentic. He writes about his childhood and his love of films. He started creating movies with his neighbors, friends, and family. Brian also watched hours and hours of movies. At the beginning of each chapter, he includes a film quote. The quotes are from a wide range of films - very impressive. I've heard and seen some of the movies he quotes, but not all of them.

The Drop Box book focuses on the journey of making The Drop Box movie, but also on Brian's life - his childhood, his films, his relationships, and his faith journey. It's a great faith story. I originally thought the book would be closer to my pledge of Read It 1st when I found out the movie also had a book, but I found it to be a companion piece to the movie. I believe readers can enjoy the book before or after viewing the film. The audience for the book is primarily adults from young adults to seniors. Brian was in college when he filmed The Drop Box.

Brandon Batchelar narrates The Drop Box book. His tenor voice suited the story very well. He sounded sincere and believable sharing someone else's story. I would listen to another recording by Batchelar. The recording was breathy. The listener can hear him take a breath during the reading, but it did not take away from the story.

My copy of the audiobook was a digital download. It downloaded in 21 parts - an image of the cover, a pdf of bonus materials, and 19 mp3 files. Eighteen of the files were the unabridged story of  The Drop Box and one audio file was a sample. Oasis Audio also shares a sample on their website. The bonus materials came on one pdf file with ten pages. The pdf shares additional material including acknowledgements, the filming crew, Kindred Image information, and notes. I thought bonus materials added to the audiobook. I always appreciate seeing the names of people (or characters) involved in stories. I'm not a good speller and if I want to share names it is difficult if I don't have the book as well as the audiobook. Thank you, Oasis Audio!

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Oasis Audio!

Additional information about The Drop Box and Brian Ivie can be found here ...


Audio Book Details...
The Drop Box : How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie and Ted Kluck Read
Read by Brandon Batchelar
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (19 parts) [4 CDs]
Total Time: 4.25 Hours
ISBN: 9781613756881
Released: March 2015
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