Sunday, November 25, 2007

Audiobook Roundup: Fun Listens for Families with Little Ones

I should have posted this before Turkey Day, but I didn't think about it until today. Holidays are coming up and that means people are traveling to visit family, go shopping, etc. And traveling might mean audiobooks. Now, I don't know about you, but I get requests for audiobook recommendations on a fairly regular basis. It can be quite tricky at times to pick out an audiobook that will be appropriate and appealing for the entire family. Something that will keep the interest of the five-year-old, the eight-year-old, the twelve-year-old, and the grown-ups. I don't have a magic formula, but I do have some recommendations for good listens for families with young children.

The Time Warp Trio, Volume 1: #1 The Knights of the Kitchen Table; #2 The Not-so-Jolly Roger by Jon Scieszka, read by William Dufris

Funny. Funny funny funny. This audiobook sounds just like a cartoon. William Dufris is excellent at creating distinct voices for the characters, which is quite a feat when you have three boys of the same age as your protagonists. In this series, Joe, Fred, and Sam are magically transported back in time by a book given to Joe by his uncle. Once back in time, they have madcap adventures until they are able to find the book and get back to their normal time. As you can discern from the title, in Volume 1 they travel first to King Arthur's time and then have to deal with pirates searching for treasure. I really can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this audiobook and I keep hoping against hope that they'll continue recording the series (but thus far only Volume 1 is available... and it looks like they might be re-releasing it).

The Mercy Watson Collection Volume 1: #1 Mercy Watson to the Rescue; #2 Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo, read by Ron McLarty.

Mercy Watson is Dennis the Menace meets Curious George. What's not to love? She's a fun-loving pig who always seems to get her way, but who comes through for everyone in the end. I loved the narration of this audiobook. It really brings the lighthearted stories to life. Luckily, there is a second Mercy Watson Collection for when you finish this one.

Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins, read by Melanie Martinez.

In a series of vignette-type stories, the toys are taken to school, put through the washing machine, go to the beach, and plan a birthday party (among other things). It's a sweet book and funny because the toys sound like children themselves (referring to a subliminal message as a "submarine message", etc.). This recording reminded me a little bit of the Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats (is that even still on? Does anyone remember that show?), and it's sweet but not sappy.

These are a few of my favorite listens that I think would be good car-trip listening for families with young children. I know there are many more out there and I'll continue to post reviews as I'm able to listen to more. If you have any recommendations for family-friendly audiobooks, please post in the comments!

And look for the next Audiobook Roundup with some recommendations for families with tween and teen girls. It'll be coming sometime in the semi-near future. For those who celebrate, I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Safe travels!