October 15, 2017

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Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Audio Review

NIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 9 CDs. 11:07 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $27.50. ISBN 9781524702021. digital download.

Gr 5 Up –“Frogkisser” isn’t a nickname most 13-year-old princesses aspire to, but when Anya makes a sister-promise to return Prince Denholm to his human state, she goes in search of Transmogrifying Reversal Lip Balm. Nix knows how to stage an enchanting story, as Anya finds herself up against (and equal to!) one adventure after another. Accompanied by palace pup Ardent, prospective good […]

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale | SLJ Audio Review

HALE, Shannon & Dean Hale. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. 7 CDs. 7:53 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781524734077. digital download.

Gr 4-7 –Fans of the Squirrel Girl comics, which feature a college-bound Squirrel Girl, will rejoice to learn of her superhero beginnings at age 14. Abigail Ravasch inhabits Doreen Green and her alter ego, Squirrel Girl, with finesse. Using her higher range, Ravasch creates a convincing teen voice that fills with snark or trembles […]

Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb | SLJ Audio Review

WEBB, Holly. Return to the Secret Garden. 4 CDs. 5:13 hrs. Dreamscape. Dec. 2016. $29.99 ISBN 9781520064765. digital download.

Gr 3-6 – Emmie and the other orphans of the Craven Home for Orphaned Children are being evacuated from London to Misselthwaite Manor on the eve of World War II. The chaos of displacement mirrors Emmie’s loneliness and frustration. This powerful historical setting is the backdrop for Webb’s lovely sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden. As Emmie […]

Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition! by Barbara Parks | SLJ Audio Review

PARKS, Barbara. Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition! 2 CDs. 77 min. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $20. ISBN 9780147523440. digital download.

Gr 1-3 –This fabulous 15-song production is centered on four previous stories—First Grader (at Last!), Boss of Lunch, One-Man Band, and Top Secret Personal Beeswax—and features the songs from Junie B. Jones, the Musical. In First Grader (at Last!), listeners discover that first grade can be a scary place, but it also offers new beginnings. The irrepressible […]

A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent by Anne Rockwell | SLJ Audio Review

ROCKWELL, Anne. A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent. 1 CD. 14 min. Dreamscape. Jan. 2017. $14.99. ISBN 9781520066172.

Gr 2-5 – The true story of James Lafayette, a Revolutionary double agent, will captivate and anger young listeners as they learn about the incredible dangers that James, an American enslaved person, took while trying to secure America’s freedom from the British and earning his own from his masters. At great danger to […]

Playing for the Devil’s Fire by Phillippe Diederich | SLJ Audio Review

DIEDERICH, Phillippe. Playing for the Devil’s Fire. 7 CDs. 8:14 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $45. ISBN 9781524723842. digital download.

Gr 7 Up – Izayoc is an idyllic Mexican pueblo where 13-year-old Boli and his friends spend time ogling the girls, shining shoes to earn money, watching the luchadores (the wrestlers), and playing marbles in the hopes of winning the much-coveted “Devil’s Fire” marble. The new highway, however, has opened the town up to dangerous people. Body parts appear, […]

The Colin Thompson Collection by Colin Thompson | SLJ Audio Review

THOMPSON, Colin. The Colin Thompson Collection. 1 CD. 13 min. Brilliance. Dec. 2016. $14.99. ISBN 9781489358387. digital download.

PreS-K – This whimsical collection by Thompson centers on two dogs, Fearless—a lumbering, bighearted bulldog who is quite the opposite of what his name implies—and Stanley. The four tales include Fearless, in which the not-quite watchdog timidly instructs a startled burglar that standing on the table is inappropriate behavior, thus awakening his owners and thwarting the theft; Fearless in Love, in […]

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon | SLJ Audio Review

YOON , Nicola. The Sun Is Also a Star. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. Listening Library. Nov. 2016. $40 ISBN 9781524721404. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Two lives are changed forever when Natasha, an undocumented Jamaican teen seeking legal help on her last day in the country before she and her family are deported, and Daniel, a budding Korean American poet on his way to a Yale admissions interview and a future he doesn’t want as a doctor, meet on […]

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson | SLJ Audio Review

STELSON, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. 3 CDs. 3:27 hrs. Dreamscape. Dec. 2016. $29.99. ISBN 9781520063034. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Sachiko Yasui was six years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown of Nagasaki: this is the account of her survival. She experienced the death of family members, homelessness, and ill health, but the unrelenting encouragement of her father gave her the strength and willpower to face the future. He had told her always […]

Heartless by Marissa Meyer | SLJ Audio Review

MEYER , Marissa. Heartless . 12 CDs. 14:34 hrs. Macmillan Audio. Nov. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9781427267948. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –In this dark imagining of the origin of the Queen of Hearts, Lady Catherine starts out with the dream of owning a bakery with her maid, Mary Ann. Cath’s baking skills land her the heart of the King of Hearts, but she is drawn to the mysterious court joker, Jest. As Cath begins to give her heart to […]

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner | SLJ Audio Review

TURNER, Pamela S. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. 4 CDs. 4:51 hrs. Recorded Books. Oct. 2016. $46.75. ISBN 9781501936265.

Gr 7 Up –Combining action, history, and excellent descriptions, this book shares the story of Yoshitsune, a most unlikely samurai. Spared after his father attacked a rival, Yoshitsune was raised by monks and later received instruction in the way of the samurai. Yoshitsune pledged his loyalty to his half brother Yoritomo and performed many heroic feats. Unfortunately, […]

The Best Bear in All the World by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis & Kate Saunders | SLJ Audio Review

BRIGHT, Paul, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis, & Kate Saunders. The Best Bear in All the World. 2 CDs. 1:37 hrs. Listening Library. Oct. 2016. $22. ISBN 9780735287655. digital download

Gr 2-5 – Four seasons bring new adventures and curiosities to Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and friends. From Eeyore seeing another donkey to Piglet and Pooh meeting a dragon, the tales will delight, inspire, and encourage imagination. Narrator Martin Jarvis’s voice is ideal for bringing to life each of the Hundred […]

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown | SLJ Audio Review

BROWN, Skila. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party. 3 CDs. 3:51 hrs. Brilliance. Oct. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781522656296. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –For 19-year-old Mary Ann Graves, and her family, the journey from Illinois to California in 1846 meant an arduous walk through mountains and deserts, alongside livestock and wagons. Following Graves’s actual reports, the chapters of this novel, which is based on actual events, relate the party’s day-to-day struggles […]

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio | SLJ Audio Review

DIPUCCHIO, Kelly. Grace for President. 1 CD w tr book. 25 min. Weston Woods. Oct. 2016. $29.95. ISBN 9781338090239.

PreS-Gr 3 –The 2016 presidential race—featuring the first woman nominated by a major U.S. political party—gives Kelly DiPucchio’s picture book, originally published in 2008, even greater relevance. Grace is an elementary school student who is appalled to learn that there has never been a female American president. Her interest in becoming the first leads to a school election with Grace […]

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | SLJ Audio Review

STEVENSON, Noelle. Nimona. 2:17 hrs. HarperAudio. Oct. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9780062562807. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Imagine a future where technology meets medieval studies mashed with a bit of supernatural and government conspiracy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is determined to expose the despicable activities of the Institute of Law Enforcement, which is led by his former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin. Such a large undertaking requires not just any sidekick. Enter Nimona, a quick-witted, hilarious teen shape-shifter who has a […]

Yellow by Megan Jacobson | SLJ Audio Review

JACOBSON, Megan. Yellow. 1 MP3-CD. 7:06 hrs. Brilliance. Jul. 2016. $9.99. ISBN 9781522642121.

Gr 9 Up –Fourteen-year-old Kirra Barley’s life is spiraling out of control. She’s bullied by girls at school who claim to be her friends, her father has left home to live with another woman, and her mother’s drinking is worse than it has ever been. Unhappy and alone, Kirra answers a ringing pay phone at the beach in her coastal Australian town, and the ghost of […]

My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter | SLJ Audio Review

WALTER, Jon. My Name Is Not Friday. 9:56 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Jan. 2016. $19.50. ISBN 9780545911061. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Samuel, almost 13, and his younger brother Joshua are orphans but born free and growing up educated. During the Civil War’s final year, Samuel takes the blame for mischief that he’s convinced that Joshua committed, and finds himself betrayed by the priest who has raised him. He’s stripped of everything familiar and renamed Friday—for the day he’s auctioned […]

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter | SLJ Audio Review

Kletter, Kerry. The First Time She Drowned. 8 CDs. 10:19 hrs. Listening Library. Mar. 2016. $50. ISBN 9780399567933. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –Eighteen-year-old Cassie is facing the world for the first time since checking herself out of the mental institution where she has spent two and a half years. She agrees to attend her mother’s alma mater and try to make a fresh start, but illness and the pressures of social engagement prove too much for her, […]

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart | SLJ Audio Review

Gephart, Donna. Lily and Dunkin. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. 48 min. Listening Library. May 2016. $45. ISBN 9780451481962. digital download. 

Gr 5-8 –Lily and Dunkin have a chance meeting just before entering eighth grade and sense an immediate connection; both harbor deep secrets. Gephart expertly weaves the characters’ separate but similar struggles with school, family, and society with concurrent narratives. Lily was assigned male at birth but has always felt she is a girl; she’s pressuring her family to […]

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick | SLJ Audio Review

Mattick, Lindsay. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. Apr. 2016. $15.75. ISBN 9781501923593. digital download.

K-Gr 3 –This story of the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh is sure to find a home in the hearts of listeners worldwide. Mattick’s great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, was a veterinarian who cared for horses in the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade during World War I. While traveling east by train across Canada from […]