Listen up, middle-graders

Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen

Four topnotch audiobooks provide hours of entertainment for middle-grade listeners. In Geraldine McCaughrean’s Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen, when a diphtheria epidemic hits 1890s Olive Town, Oklahoma, twelve-year-old Cissy and her friends are sent away to stay with their former, beloved teacher, now an actress in a traveling theater troupe housed in a dilapidated […]

How pleasant, indeed.

Chronicle has just published His Shoes Were Far Too Tight, a collection of Edward Lear’s poems, selected and introduced by author/NPR commentator Daniel Pinkwater. The collection is illustrated by Calef Brown, a fabulous children’s poet himself. With the book we received a CD of the euphonious Pinkwater narrating five of the poems. My favorite is […]

Squeak by growl

I have to say I laughed when the audiobook edition of Jerry Pinkney‘s famously wordless The Lion and the Mouse came into the office. But the production is from Weston Woods and I should have known better. While faithfully and realistically reproducing the sound effects that constitute the only printed text in the book, the […]

>Merry Christmas, now shut up.

>I’m over at Out of the Box today opining on Wild About Books, my favorite thus far of the book apps I have read/heard/fingered/etc. A larger question here, though–why are the narrators for these things so annoying? Thank God you have the option to shut them up and read aloud for yourself because I haven’t […]

>Just when you thought she was Over

>Betty White narrates an audiobook.

The White stuff

Over the course of Betty White’s recent blazing-hot comeback, she’s played a hit-taking, Snickers-eating football player; a pee-drinking anthropology professor (Community); exaggerated Larry David-esque versions of herself (30 Rock, Ugly Betty); and, in The Proposal, Sandra Bullock’s character’s randy grandma who harasses an unlikely stripper played by Oscar from The Office — not to mention […]

>A question for the pop culture critics

>I’ve just started listening to an audiobook edition of Jane Eyre narrated by Juliet Stevenson. (Did anyone see her recent PBS Mystery turn? It was great.) Stevenson is terrific, but hearing the spooky scene in the Red Room makes me wonder if Stephen King has ever credited it as inspiration for the “Redrum” motif in […]

>Archeology

>We’re doing an office clean-up today and uncovered something that seems far too relic-like for its relatively unadvanced age: an unabridged cassette recording of Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Narrated by Jill Tanner, it’s a superb rendition, but who knows from cassettes anymore?

>Off till next week

>Thank you all for the great discussion about adults and children reading. Richard and I are going to New York today to see Elizabeth and other assorted friends and two shows: the revival of Sunday in the Park with George, which was the first show I ever saw on Broadway, and Come Back, Little Sheba […]

>Going down a dark hall

>I’d like to second Elizabeth’s hopes (see comments in Monday’s post) for a Gothic revival. I’ve just finished listening to Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, narrated by Tony Britton. When I told friends I was reading it, to a woman they started talking about their adolescent (around 10 up, I think) mania for Du […]