April 7, 2011

Audio Books

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Provo with my kiddos to hang with my sister and her kiddos. It is a good 90 minute drive or more. When thinking about the drive, I realized that I would go bonkers if I had to listen to 50 Silly Songs for Kids one more time. Usually I don't mind, but lately, man it has been annoying. We'll blame it on hormones. (If they would only choose Newsies every once in awhile, or our Disney collection--or anything but "the smile was on the crocodile" etc.)

Then I had a brain-wave. The reason my children were listening to silly songs instead of the classical station is because my hubby gave me a new cd player for the van. We could now participate in one of my favorite activities--listening to an audio book.

So I went to the library and got one of my favorite books, hoping the reader would do a good job. He did!!! He really, really did. Graeme Malcolm, whoever you are, you ROCK at reading books.

Those of you who listen to audio books know that a reader can make or break the book.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (a GOLD STAR book for sure) was read brilliantly. The drive was over before my children realized they should be annoyed by the length of it. When we returned home, my children insisted we take the cds inside so they could finish the story immediately. They loved it.

So will you. If you don't have time to listen to it (I don't listen to books on tape much now that I don't commute), please read it. Great book for ages 4 on up (at least, my four year old loved it).

While we are on the subject of audio books, I must HIGHLY RECOMMEND my very favorite audio books.

The Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman.

These are available in written form, but if at all possible, do not read these books. Listen to them. The reader, a Barbara Rosenblat, is without a doubt the best reader I've ever heard--and I listened to A LOT of books on tape during my year commuting.

My very favorite of the series is the second one, The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax. Mrs. Pollifax, if you've never heard of her, is an elderly widow who is bored with life. She feels useless. Her two children are raised and gone and all Mrs. Pollifax does is grow flowers and meet with her garden club. So, one day, she decides to go to the headquarters of the CIA and offer her assistance.

Because of a few odd circumstances, she winds up with a job. One that is supposed to be easy and danger-free and is, of course, quite the opposite.

The second book covers her second assignment and it is hilarious and wonderful. A small disclaimer, one of the characters in the second book says, "What the hell," all the time. So if you are opposed to that, you might want to skip the second book. There is no language in any of the other books that I can remember. Normally I don't approve of swearing, but something about the Hungarian accent made it really, really funny to me. Sorry if your opinion of me has now diminished. ;)

If you assign these books to your children (I would say 10 and up would enjoy them although they are aimed at adults), use them for fun or in conjunction with geography. Each book has Mrs. Pollifax flying off to another exotic location for another "non-dangerous" mission that becomes very dangerous very quickly. Off the top of my head I remember a book set in South America, the Middle East, Hungary, China, Africa. Okay, that was vague, but it was off the top of my head.

And if you have a trip to go on in the near future, please, please, please get the first or second Pollifax book on tape. You will be highly entertained and will not regret it.

1 comment:

  1. have been wanting to read Tale of Desperaux to Coen- good to know your 4 y/o loved it. I think the Mrs Polifax books would be good for history too since they are all so charmingly cold war story lines. Love them. What are the mysteries about the lady in Egypt in the Victorian era- those are fun too.