Sweet Sounds and Farewell

Hello All,

I first, wanted to say how much I have enjoyed this blogging journey with you all and how much Pam and I appreciate your readership. It is now time for me to move on to other adventures, but I hope you will continue to support Pam as she remains one of the few voices and advocates for tweens in the library world! I promised you a while ago I would review certain audiobooks. Here are the remaining titles, with a brief thought about each one.  

The Unmapped Sea is one of the most vocally diverse single-narrator audiobooks I have ever listened to. Katherine Kellgren is utterly brilliant, and she could not share her brilliance with more worthy characters than the Incorrigibles. She astonished me with her masterful performance of at least fifteen distinct British and Russian accents. Possibly the most well-written middle grade book of 2015, The Unmapped Sea is extraordinarily witty, surprising, tender, and assuredly endearing. Even though the book is the fifth in a series and the only book out of that series I have read, I am in love with the Incorrigibles. If you like British things, then listen to this book. If you ever wondered what children who have been raised by wolves are really like, then please, listen to this book. If you are a human who enjoys well-written middle grade novels, then listen to this book!

For all of you who have listened to The True Meaning of Smekday, you are already in love with Bahni Turpin. Here is another reason to count her among your favorite narrators. Jump Back, Paul deftly utilizes the talents of Bahni Turpin and Dion Graham to bring to life a unique take on the life of Paul Lawrence Dunbar. This prolific poet is relatively unknown now, but everyone will recognize a line from one of his poems that became the iconic title of the Maya Angelou book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Told in alternating biographical account, read by Bahni Turpin, and poems performed by Dion Grahame, Jump Back, Paul will enthuse even those with little love for non-fiction (like me!) In the beginning, it is said that Paul's poems aren't meant to be read in silence, but heard! Listen to this one and revel in the delicious rhythm of the poems of Paul Lawrence Dunbar.

Randi Rhodes has the feel of one of the higher quality Disney Channel movies. This is why I think kids are really going to enjoy this one. (And it's probably why I enjoyed it so much, myself...) Spencer does a good job giving the characters multiple issues that will resonate with kids in a variety of situations. Randi Rhodes is one of the few on this list that does not have much added to it by the audiobook format. Despite Spencer's acting successes, she is only a mediocre narrator. The audiobook was undoubtedly enjoyable, but not impressive. Unlike Jump Back Paul, for example, this one could be read or listened to with virtually the same results.

The multi-narrator format of The Tapper Twins will make this one more appealing to some listeners, but Cassandra Morris is undoubtedly the strength of the audiobook. Her performance is spot on. Humorous and very true to the thoughts and feelings of tweens, The Tapper Twins was overall and enjoyable listen. However, I did find the characters occasionally annoying and did not feel like some of the more questionable hijinks were thoroughly condemned and discouraged. This is sure to be a favorite among siblings and will doubtless be listened to on many family road trips.

I have spoken to several kids who greatly enjoyed reading, Pip and I can understand why. Pearce and Stiefvater's world building is excellent. (You will find yourself driving down the road and wondering what happened to all the unicorn farms you distinctly remembered were on your commute..) In addition, once again, Cassandra Morris' performance is flawless. While there were times I became bored with the plot line, this audiobook has stayed with me. For lovers of the magical, the quirky, and a solid middle-grade formula, this is the book for you!

Farewell, and I hope to see you sometime in the library world!


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