Planning a road trip? Audio books might provide company

In the stacks

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2005

Getting ready for Spring Break? Kids' audio books might be just the thing if you are planning a trip!

If you are one of storyteller Odds Bodkin's many fans, look for four of his new sets of stories on cassette. "Rip Roarin' Paul Bunyan Tales" contains two original Paul Bunyan stories by Bodkin, as well as a longer traditional Bunyan story. In "The Blossom Tree," you'll hear traditional tales from Japan, China and Tibet, each accompanied by original music. "The Wise Little Girl" is a collection of three stories with girl-heroes from Russian, Native American and European traditions. And, finally, "With a Twinkle in Your Eye" will make you chuckle with four funny folktales from different cultures.

"The Tail of Emily Windsnap," by Liz Kessler, read by Finty Williams. Even though Emily lives on a boat, there is no swimming allowed - her mother is quite strict about it. But Emily's middle school makes the kids take swimming lessons, and Emily quickly finds out why her mom kept her out of the water: Once immersed, her legs turn into a mermaid tail! Determined to find out if there are more kids like her, she takes to the sea and meets Shona, a mer-girl. With Shona's help, she unravels the mystery of her father and, in the end, reunites her parents. (Unabridged book on CD)

"The Tale of Desperaux," by Kate DiCamillo, read by Graeme Malcolm. Last year's Newbery winner is here in a new form. Whether you prefer adventure or romance, try this enchanting story of a small mouse with oversized ears who falls in love with a princess and must save her from her kidnapper. DiCamillo introduces each character in turn, taking the time to acquaint the reader with Despereaux, Princess Pea, the rat Chiaroscuro and the scullery maid Miggery Sow, before weaving each of their stories together for a satisfying ending. (Unabridged book on CD)

"Have Space Suit, will Travel," by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Will McAuliffe and the Full Cast Family. First published in 1958 as one of Heinlein's series of books for boys, this quickly found a more widespread audience. Teenager Kip enters a contest (after mailing in 5,000 entries), hoping to win a trip to the moon, but wins the runner-up prize instead - a real space suit. Resigned to selling it to finance college, he takes it for one last walk around the backyard and ends up being abducted by aliens. Once in space, he rescues a 12-year-old genius, meets the alien Mother Thing, and ends up on trial for the crimes of humanity. Performed, rather than read, this is a treat for all ages. (Unabridged book on CD)

"Heartbeat," by Sharon Creech, read by Mandy Siegfried. Annie is a natural runner who loves the feel of wind on her face and dirt under her bare feet. Her running sets the pace for this lovely novel. Told in free-verse poems, this is the story of Annie's world in flux: her mother's pregnancy, her grandfather's forgetfulness, her best friend's moods, her withering apple-a-day drawing, and her ambivalence about joining the track team at school. (Unabridged book on CD)

"The Singer of All Songs," by Kate Constable, read by Karen Ziemba. The first in a trilogy set in the world of Tremaris, where each country has its own song to control a portion of the natural world. Calwyn is a novice ice priestess living behind a nearly impenetrable wall, practicing the chantment that will give her mastery over ice when she stumbles over an injured Outlander. When she hears that Darrow has narrowly escaped a sorcerer who wants to rule the world by learning all the chantments and becoming the Singer of All Songs, she decides to join his quest to save the world. (Unabridged book on tape)

"Farmer Boy," by Laura Ingalls Wilder, read by Cherry Jones. The day-to-day life of Almanzo Wilder, a boy growing up on a farm in New York in the 1800s, comes to life. Imagine having enough chores to keep you busy from dawn until breakfast, and then again from the time school gets out until dark. Somehow, though, in between the sheep shearing, woodcutting, animal feeding, and going to school, Almanzo still has time to have fun with his brother and sisters. Enjoy the adventures he and his siblings had the time they were left home alone for a week (how did they unstick the pig's teeth, anyway?), and wrap it all up with a happy ending involving a wallet, some insults, a job offer, and a surprise gift. (Unabridged book on CD)

"Jennifer Murdley's Toad," by Bruce Coville, read by the author and a full cast. Jennifer's day starts out badly and gets worse quickly when her classmates find out she's worn her brother's underwear to school. Soon she's on the run with a talking toad named Bufo, trying to rescue her brother. The beautiful witch who kidnapped him is really after Bufo, but will settle for the little boy as soon as he looks more toad-like. Jennifer, a plain kid, discovers that beauty on the outside doesn't say anything about the person inside, and, as in all good fairy tales, her good heart saves the day. (Unabridged book on cassette)

• Placing a hold on our material is easy: Call Juneau Public Libraries at 586-5249, or, if you have Internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site ( and looking at our catalog. Placing holds on items featured in this column is now even easier. The new columns are hyperlinked to the catalog: Simply look up the column on our Web site, click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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