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New audiotapes include 'The Light Princess'

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2007

New audiotapes on compact disc for kids include "The Higher Power of Lucky," the two latest Artemis Fowl books, "The Lost Colony" and "The Eternity Code," and the delightful classic "The Light Princess."

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"The Emperor's New Clothes" and "Pinocchio," performed by a full cast. Presented by the Night Kitchen Radio Theater, this is a great introduction for young children to the world of old-fashioned radio productions. These adaptations of classic stories are written for all ages, expertly voiced by a talented cast and kicked into high gear with great sound effects. "Emperor's" tells the tale of a gullible king duped by tailors into believing their words instead of his own eyes. "Pinocchio" is the story of a little wooden boy carved by a puppetmaker, and his struggle to become a real boy.

"Snail Boy and the Toilet Bots," by Susan Gates, read by Nigel Lambert. Anxious to stay independent as long as possible, Connor's granddad has moved into a new, experimental home full of specialized robots to assist him. Connor and his friend, Snail Boy, think the robots in the bathroom are great, but some of the others in the house, especially Nurse Bot, who supervises Granddad, are a little scary. Make that a lot scary when Nurse Bot falls in love with Granddad and imprisons him so she'll have him all to herself! It's up to Connor and Snail Boy to save Granddad from robot love. Lambert's reading sparkles with energy and he differentiates easily between characters. For elementary school listeners.

"Two Weeks with the Queen," written and read by Morris Gleitzman. Colin's younger brother Luke is dying of cancer, and in order to make it easier on all of them, Colin goes to stay with relatives in England. There, he appoints himself the task of finding the best cancer specialist available for Luke, even contacting the Queen for help. But Colin finally realizes that he belongs back in Australia with his family, no matter how hard it is to watch his brother die. Off-beat humor helps offset serious messages about families, sickness and death, and Colin's adolescent innocence is given excellent voice. For older elementary school listeners.

"What I call Life," by Jill Wolfson, read by Grace Kelly and the Full Cast Family. Eleven-year-old Cal Lavender finds herself plunked into a group home when her mother has a psychotic episode and is deemed unable to care for her. Running the home Cal lands in is the decidedly odd knitting lady, who would like nothing more than to teach the girls how to knit their lives back together in new patterns. Cal can't believe it. What happened to her previously perfect life? This ultimately hopeful look at life's unexpected moments is made lively and realistic by the skilled cast. For older elementary school/middle school listeners.

"Faking It," by Pete Johnson, read by Paul Chequer. Girls like to hang out with 15-year-old Will, but they won't date him -- they just don't see him as boyfriend material. Frustrated, Will finally makes up a girlfriend, passing his stepmother's gorgeous niece off as his long-distance sweetie while he tries to figure out what makes him undateable. He and his best friend Barney have a great time making up details about Hannah and inventing a relationship complete with engraved rings, but complications crop up when she actually comes to visit. Find out if Will has a chance with the real Hannah in this very funny book, brought to life perfectly by Chequer's adept reading. For middle school listeners.

"Valiant: a Modern Tale of Faerie," by Holly Black, read by Renee Raudman. People live deep in the labyrinth of the New York subway system, people like 17-year-old runaway Val and her new friends Lolli, Luis and Dave. Other things live there, too, and Luis deals potions to them, such as the drug Never, to which Lolli, Luis, and Dave are rapidly becoming addicted. When Lolli and Val are caught in the wrong place by a troll, Val bargains with him in true "Beauty and the Beast" style. Raudman's adept voice makes it easy to identify all the characters, and even tell which species they are. The grim and graphic view of life under the streets makes this strong fare for high school listeners.

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Story and Toddler Times are in recess until September. Check our Web site or call us for more information.

As always, placing a hold on our material is easy: call the Juneau Public Libraries at 586-5249, or by going online to www.juneau.org/library



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