Needless to say, my fellow Snoops and I spend quite a bit of time reading for the website. Because my “to read” pile can sometimes be overwhelming, I always have a book on my nightstand and a book on CD in my car. Just like regular books, some books on CD are better than others. A great narrator can bring a story’s characters to life, while a not-so-great narrator can be nothing more than a distraction.
With summer upon us and many families planning to take road trips, I thought I would share some of the books I have listened to that are particularly entertaining on CD. Let’s face it; it’s not easy to keep everyone occupied in the car for extended periods of time. Sibling squabbles are bound to crop up. If you are interested in a little peace, pop one of these CDs in and you are sure to enjoy a great story and more than a few miles of blissful serenity.
The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning #1), by John Stevens
After being whisked away from their parents’ loving arms one unforgettable Christmas Eve, siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma have spent the past ten years being shuttled from one orphanage to the next. Not even sure of their own last name, the one thing they do know for certain is that their parents will be back for them some day. But what they are about to discover is that they are the subject of a magical prophecy, making them very special children indeed. Soon the three siblings are transported back in time, courtesy of the Emerald Atlas–one of three enchanted books with the power to change history. There, they embark upon an extraordinary adventure filled with evil villains, terrifying creatures, and surprising supporters. Can Kate, Michael, and Emma harness the power of the atlas and right the wrongs of the past?
The Emerald Atlas would entertain families with kids aged eight to thirteen, give or take a bit. Narrator Jim Dale does a wonderful job of creating a different voice for each and every character in the story while delivering lines with humor in all the right spots. Now get the scoop.
Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Twelve-year-old Liam is completely horrified that he is mistaken for an adult on a regular basis. For one thing he’s tall, really tall. He even has facial hair. The worst part–even worse than being called names like “freak” and “wolverine”–is that people expect him to behave like an adult, just because he looks like one. But things change when Liam figures out that he can have a bit of fun pretending to be a grown-up, like taking a Porsche out for a test drive and claiming to be a teacher on the first day of school. He even manages to talk his way into chaperoning the first group of children to travel into outer space. When things go wrong, can Liam do the “dadly thing” and get them all home safe?
Cosmic is a great choice for families with kids between eight and fifteen. Narrator Kirby Heyborne will have all of you laughing out loud at Liam’s antics.
Now get the scoop.
Scorpia Rising – The Final Mission (Alex Rider #9), by Anthony Horowitz
Fifteen-year-old reluctant spy Alex Rider has bested Scorpia twice in the past year, undermining their reputation as the world’s most formidable crime organization. So when Scorpia is hired to coerce the British government to return a collection of classical marble sculptures to Greece, the organization cannot fail. An elaborate blackmail scheme is hatched to accomplish this goal, while getting revenge against Alex in the process. And despite orders from the British Prime Minister that he is never to be used for a mission again, Alex is drawn into the trap set by Scorpia. Has the elite crime organization finally found a way to crush MI6′s secret weapon?
Scorpia Rising will engross children aged nine to nineteen. Narrator Simon Prebble does a masterful job with all of the books in the series with an impeccable English accent that is spot of for MI6′s secret weapon.
Now get the scoop.
Island Book One: Shipwreck, by Gordon Korman
When six kids find themselves crewing a sailboat in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean near Guam, it quickly becomes clear that none of them want to be there. But for some reason, their parents have decided that each of these troubled kids would benefit from the Charting a New Course program. Now Luke, J.J., Charla, Ian, and siblings Will and Lyssa have no choice but to quickly learn their way around the sixty-foot boat, guided by a well-meaning skipper and his abrasive mate. When a tremendous storm develops, things go from bad to worse, and the crew of newbie sailors find themselves fighting for their lives.
Island Book One: Shipwreck is a shorter read (listen?) that will entertain children ages eight to thirteen. Narrator Holter Graham does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life in this gripping series.
Now get the scoop.
White Cat (Curse Workers Book 1), by Holly Black
Seventeen-year-old Cassel Sharpe is the only one in his family who is not a curse worker, so he can’t help but feel like he’s not quite good enough. Curse work is illegal, which means anyone who can alter a person’s emotions, luck, or memories with the touch of a hand is a criminal or scam artist — just like every member of Cassel’s family. He may not be a worker, but he’s far from innocent. He can run a scam to rival any con artist, and he killed the love of his life, Lila, three years ago. One night, Cassel finds himself on a rooftop after dreaming about a white cat, and has absolutely no idea how he got there. Images of the cat continue to haunt him as Cassel begins to notice that his two brothers are being even more secretive than usual. Cassel runs scam after scam to get to the bottom of his brothers’ odd behavior, only to discover a shocking secret about himself that changes everything.
White Cat is an intriguing story for families with kids aged twelve and up. Narrator and Academy Award Nominee Jesse Eisenberg is the perfect Cassel Sharpe, with just the right balance of sarcasm and smarts.
Now get the scoop.