Monday, February 29, 2016

Music Review: Can You Canoe?

Have you heard of the Okee Dokee Brothers? My brother told me that his family loved their music. He shared that they were funny and their music was linked to real life adventures. I stored the information away and after another visit with his family we watched some of the Okee Dokee Brothers DVD segments. After paying attention and really listening to their adventures and songs, I fell in love with this creative duo.

Can You Canoe? is the first Okee Dokee Brothers CD. Their second CD is Through the Woods and their third one album, Saddle Up, is coming out in May 2016. (I cannot wait to hear it!) This album features songs from their 30-day trip on the great Mississippi River. It also won a Grammy in 2013 for Best Children's Album!

This is a great CD for background listening or on the go in the car with your family.  The songs range from quiet and calm to clapping and tapping out some dance steps. The song writers Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander wrote every song on the CD. The album insert is a small booklet with little paragraphs about each song and the story behind it. Also included in the case is a DVD with videos they filmed along their journey. You can get a preview of their songs as well as their videos on their website. Below is the track list and a few notes from me. The italicized tracks were some of my favorites from Can You Canoe?

Track List --
1. Can You Canoe?
2. Haul Away Joe (with Garth Hudson)*
3. Mr. and Mrs. Sippy - a silly spelling song for Mississippi
4. The Bullfrog Opera (with Morgan Taylor)** - very mellow and dreamy like calm song
5. Rosita - a mosquito song!
6. Campin' Tent - a camping song
7. Memphis Town - a train song
8. Along for the Ride (with Rachel Loshak)** - mellow out and float along the river
9. Muddy River
10. The Boatman's Dance - pairs well with track 2 Haul Away Joe
11. King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Moe-O - mellow out and sway with the stream
12. Thousand Star Hotel - calm down and sleep
13. Brother - upbeat and let it roll!
14. Small and Simple (with Elizabeth Mitchell)*** - calm down and sleep
15. Roll on River (with Garth Hudson)*

*Garth Hudson from The Band
**Morgan Taylor and Rachel Loshak from Gustafer Yellowgold
***Elizabeth Mitchell from You Are My Flower

Reviewed from a personal copy.

Album: Can You Canoe?
Artist: The Okee Dokee Brothers
Label: Okee Dokee Music
Genre: Folk / Americana / Kindie / Family
Length: 38:22
Release Date: May 15, 2012

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Five Years of Audiobooks

Adolescent Audio Adventures began on February 25, 2011. I cannot believe it's been five years since I started reviewing audiobooks here. My goal was to share my joy of audiobooks with others who enjoy listening to books. I keep finding more and more titles I want to consume. It's great! If you're interested in my past year listens the titles are below.

In the meantime, it's time for some change!

This new year I'm going to add more audio adventures to Adolescent Audio Adventures. I am going to share music reviews! As an assistant children's librarian, I have access to some fantastic music for children and families. I use a variety of music during my library programs, but I also enjoy listening to music as I go about my day. The reviews will be a wide range of storytime music to background music. Again, my goal is to share my joy of children's music with others.

It's time to take stock of all the books I heard over the past year. Let's break it down...

Juvenile Fiction [estimated trt: 4 days, 1 minute] 
Nooks & Crannies
Ship of Dolls
The Case of the Missing Moonstone
The Terrible Two Get Worse
The Adventures of Bella and Harry
Billy and Goat at the State Fair
Westly: A Spider's Tale
Catch You Later, Traitor
The Graveyard Book - Full Cast
Mystery of the Midnight Rider
Strangers on a Train
Curse of the Arctic Star
What I Learned from a Penguin
Ms. Rapscott's Girls
Deep in the Swamp
The Black Reckoning
I had a Favorite Dress
Nuts to You
Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter - Peter Rabbit and Friends
Looking at Lincoln
The Terrible Two
Ben Franklin's Big Splash
The Julian Chapter

Young Adult [trt: 2 days, 15 hours, 23 minutes]
From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess
Island of Graves
A Whole New World - A Twisted Tale
Ana of California
The Zoo at the Edge of the World
Island of Shipwrecks
Island of Legends

Adult [trt: 1 day, 13 hours, 53 minutes]
Safe House
Prairie Home Companion 40th Anniversary Collection
I Will
Love in Every Stitch
Answers to Your Questions about Heaven
Gettysburg Address & Emancipation Proclamation
Mr. Kiss and Tell
The Drop Box

44 books (and over 168 hours) were counted in this year's review.  So far that's the most titles I've heard in a year (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Wow! What a fantastic year! Thank you to my local libraries, Audiobook Jukebox, christianaudio, and Oasis Audio. Without their generosity, I would not have had access to all the wonderful books I've heard last year.

I'm looking forward to another great year of listening! Some titles I cannot wait to hear are Unwanteds #7 - Island of Dragons, Five Kingdoms #4 - Death Weavers, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #6, Dolls of Hope, Audies 2016 finalists for Young Listeners and Middle Grade, as well as the titles available this summer at Audiobook SYNC.

What audiobook or audiobooks are you looking forward to hearing in 2016?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Crenshaw

I picked up Crenshaw because I enjoyed Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. I didn’t even bother to read the back cover summary. The cover looked sweet and magical. I’m always up for a fantasy story!

Applegate did not create a fantasy story. She wrote realistic fiction with an imaginary friend. (Thank you for the Harvey quote at the beginning of the book!) It is a story about one family's struggle with homelessness. A story that I did not expect, but one that truly is an eye opener into another person's world. I felt like I was walking in someone else's shoes as I listened to Jackson and his descriptions of his life. Crenshaw is his imaginary friend that appeared when he was needed. The cat brought humor, companionship, council, and frustration to Jackson. Crenshaw showed that everyone needs a friend, even if it is imaginary.

Hello, again, Mr. Kirby Heyborne! I’ve enjoyed several of Heyborne’s book narrations. This is another great listen. His voice was believable for 4th grader Jackson. He also added different vocal variations for the other characters in Crenshaw.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Read by Kirbey Heyborne
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 3 Hours, 18 Minutes
Release Date: September 2015
ISBN: 9780399564642

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone

History and humor and math, oh my! What a fantastic read! I could also add mystery, science, and inventions to the list of themes in the first installment of The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency. English majors will be delighted with The Case of the Missing Moonstone.

I started laughing at track one and ended the story with a chuckle. Mr. Stratford put together a very clever story about a clever girl, Lady Ada Byron, and the people who surrounded her, Mary Godwin, Peebs, Charles, Mr. Babbage and more. He took some creative liberties, but tied true characters together to create a wonderful, historical mystery that will capture the attention of all ages. I am looking forward to book two, The Case of the Girl in Grey, which is coming out in 2016. This book is also a great read for readers who are waiting for the next installment of Maryrose Wood’s Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.

Nicola Barber narrated The Case of the Missing Moonstone. I haven't heard her narrate before, but I have put a number of her audiobook titles on my to-be-read shelf without realizing it (until today). I believe Ms. Barber captured the story very well. It's a book that needs an authentic English voice and she hits the spot. Every once in a while I didn't know if Ada or Mary were talking, but soon their personalities of the characters shone through the narrative. I am excited to see that Barber will be back to read book two!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
Series: Book 1, The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency
Read by Nicola Barber
Produced by HighBridge Audio
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 3 Hours, 32 Minutes
Release Date: January 2015
ISBN: 9781622314249

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Audies 2016

Are you familiar with the Audies? The Audies are awards given by the Audio Publishers Association, or the APA. Audiobooks from over 20 different categories are narrowed down to a short list of finalists. The 2016 finalists were announced today! It was very exciting to follow #Audies2016 on Twitter. The winners will be announced at the Gala on May 11, 2016.

Since Adolescent Audio Adventures primarily focuses on listens for younger readers here are the nominations for Young Listeners, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. For a complete listing of the 2016 Audie finalists, check out the Audio Publishers Association press release.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: The Terrible Two Get Worse

The Terrible Two are back in The Terrible Two Get Worse! I would highly recommend listening to The Terrible Two before reading The Terrible Two Get Worse. It's a fantastic followup to Niles' and Miles' pranks at their school in Yawnee Valley.

Niles and Miles are on a role at pranking, but one prank goes too far. Their principal has been replaced. Something needs to be done!

The themes of humor and friendship run strong in this second Terrible tale. I think readers of book one will definitely enjoy book two. Niles and Miles prank well together and challenge each other. They also learn consequences together and working with others. I am intrigued to see if more titles will be coming in this series. This is a great follow-up book and wraps up well if this is the end of the series.

Adam Verner returns to narrate The Terrible Two Get Worse! Again, well done on sharing the story. The character voices were maintained from book one to book two. Stuart still got under my skill, but his character was well maintained. Great job, Mr. Verner!

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

Audio Book Details...
The Terrible Two Get Worse by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Series: Book 2, The Terrible Two
Read by Adam Verner
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (25 parts)
Total Time: 3 Hours, 32 Minutes
ISBN: 9781504661935
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