February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Sleepy creatures, historical fiction, & a new Sammy Keyes | Audio Reviews

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redstarCOX, Judy. Go to Sleep, Groundhog! 1 CD. 6 min. Dreamscape. 2014. $14.99. ISBN 9781633794849.
Gr K-2 –Groundhog usually goes to sleep on Columbus Day and wakes up on February 2, but this year he just can’t seem to fall asleep. Instead of tossing and turning he decides to climb out of his den and explore. To his surprise October, November, and December are full of exciting things he’s never seen before. Groundhog sees and hears the sights and sounds of the holidays, before finally falling asleep and waking up right on time for his shadow-seeing (or not?) duties. This strikes the perfect balance between heart-warming, funny, and clever. Children will love hearing about Groundhog’s adventure, which Susie Berneis’s narration brings to life. Additional sound effects such as turkeys gobbling will have kids smiling and wanting to listen again. VERDICT This is a must-have audiobook for a Groundhog Day storytime.–Jessica Gilcreast, Bedford High School, NH

redstarRAY, Mary Lyn. Go to Sleep, Little Farm. 1 CD. 15 min. $15.75. Recorded Books. 2015. ISBN 9781490660080. digital download.
K-Gr 2 –On a quiet farm a variety of creatures are preparing for sleep: gray mice hide under roots, a beaver makes a bed in a bog, and a little girl prepares to go to sleep. The sweet storyline and crafty wordsmithing combine for a work that children will love to listen to before going to bed. Such lines as “Somewhere a story goes to sleep in a book/ Somewhere a worm sleeps in the dirt” keeps the listener engaged. Narration by Maria Cabezas is rhythmic and calming, perfect for a relaxing story time or bedtime. Young listeners will enjoy hearing about animals’ bedtime routines while the little girl prepares for her bedtime alongside them. This is a home run with a cozy feel that rivals Goodnight Moon. ­VERDICT Recommended for all collections.–Jessica Gilcreast, Bedford High School, NH

redstarBirney, Betty G. Humphrey Audio Collection, Books 8-11. 11 CDs. 13 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $75. ISBN 9780553556490. digital download.
Gr 3-7 –Everyone’s favorite golden hamster is back in this audio presentation of four of the books by Birney. In “Mysteries According to Humphrey,” Humphrey’s class is reading Sherlock Holmes, a substitute takes over, and Humphrey has his own mysteries to solve. “Winter According to Humphrey” brings snow, a pageant, and all the winter holidays. In “Secrets According to Humphrey,” the class studies ancient Egypt and secret clubs abound. Finally, in “Imagination According to Humphrey,” the class learns how to write stories, and Humphrey follows along with his journal. Of course, in each adventure, he also uses his role as classroom pet to help the students resolve issues and learn important social skills. Narrator William Dufris does a fabulous job reading the stories, pacing them perfectly and providing the ideal voices for the characters. Humphrey manages to be enthusiastic without being cloying, and the voices for the other characters bring them to life. VERDICT This is the best kind of audiobook, drawing listeners in and carrying them away. A treat for both children and adults.–Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA

redstarBradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War That Saved My Life. 6 CDs. 7:38 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $40. ISBN 9780553556537. digital download.
Gr 4-6 –Since she was born with a twisted foot, 10-year-old Ada has never been allowed to leave the one-room London apartment she shares with her mother and younger brother, Jamie. Mam is mortified by Ada’s foot, and she physically and emotionally abuses Ada, withholding food, locking her in a cupboard, and forcing Ada to crawl on the floor instead of supplying her with crutches. But when Ada learns Jamie will be shipped out of London in case the city is bombed by the Germans, Ada sneaks away with him, freeing herself from her mother’s cruelty and discovering a world she never before imagined for herself. The two children are sent to live in the country with Susan Smith, a woman who is still reeling from the death of her close friend, and who initially isn’t keen on taking them in. As the story progresses, however, Ada and Jamie slowly begin to trust Susan, and Susan opens her heart to them. Thanks to narrator Jane Entwistle’s distinct voicing, each character’s personality shines through. VERDICT Highly recommended, particularly for those studying the Second World War.–Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA

redstarVan Draanen, Wendelin. Sammy Keyes and the Night of the Skulls. (Sammy Keyes: Bk. 14). 7 CDs. 10 hrs. Live Oak. 2014. $58.95. ISBN 9781430117506.
Gr 4-7 –When Sammy and her friends cut through the graveyard on Halloween, they encounter a boy running away from a mustard-colored car. In the excitement, they wind up with the boy’s bag, which has two skulls in it. As they begin to investigate, the friends come face to face with knife-wielding maniacs, corrupt morticians, grave robbers, missing people, and a caretaker who’s vanished. What’s going on in Santa Martina? Are the disappearances and the skulls linked? Narrator Tara Sands’s distinct intonations are engaging. Her unique narrative style complements the author’s humorous writing style. The interwoven plotlines are brought together expertly to create a fun page turner. VERDICT This is a terrific listen for avid and reluctant readers who enjoy humorous mystery and adventure.–­Jessica Moody, Olympus Jr. High, Holladay, UT

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

early elementary

AGEE, JON. Terrific. 1 CD. 7 min. Dreamscape. 2014. $14.99. ISBN 9781633795112.

Bunting, Eve. Washday. 1 CD. 9 min. Dreamscape. 2014. $14.99. ISBN 9781633795150.

Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History. 1 CD. 11 min. Dreamscape. 2014. $14.99. ISBN 9781633795198.

KALMAN, Maira. Looking at Lincoln. 1 CD. 10 min. Dreamscape. 2015. $14.99. ISBN 9781633796140.

KALMAN, Maira. Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything. 1 CD. 14 min. Dreamscape. 2015. $14.99. ISBN 9781633796218.

MINOR, Wendell & Florence Minor. If You Were a Panda Bear. 1 CD with tr book. 21 min. Live Oak. 2014. $29.95. ISBN 9781430117711.

Neuman, Susan B. Swing, Sloth!: Explore the Rain Forest. 1 CD with pb book. 6:13 mins. Live Oak. 2015. $19.95. ISBN 9781430118770.

Newman, Aline Alexander. Ape Escapes! And More True Stories of Animals Behaving Badly. 1 CD. 1 hr. Recorded Books. 2015. $15.75. ISBN 9781490635910. digital download.

Osbourne, Mary Pope. Danger in the Darkest Hour. 3 CDs. 3 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $19.95. ISBN 9780553552652. digital download.

SLADE, Suzanne. Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2015. $15.75. ISBN 9781490660004. digital download.

Tuchman, Gail. Safari. 1 CD with pb book. 4 min. Live Oak. 2015. $19.95. ISBN 9781430118893.

middle grade

Barnett, Mac & John Jory. The Terrible Two. 3 CDs. 3:30 hrs. Blackstone. 2015. $24.95. ISBN 9781481515320. Playaway, 1 MP3-CD.

BAUM, Frank L. Ozma of Oz. (Wizard of Oz, Bk. 3). 4 CDs. 4:33 hrs. Dreamscape. 2014. $39.99. ISBN 978163373880.

Draper, Sharon M. Stella by Starlight. 6 CDs. 6:30 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2015. $24.99. ISBN 9781442380394.

MARTIN, Ann M. Home Is the Place. (Family Tree, Bk. 4). 4 CDs. 4:46 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $30. ISBN 9780804122443. digital download.

Patterson, James & Chris Grabenstein. I Totally Funniest. (I Funny, Bk. 3). 3 CDs. 3:30 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2015. $18. ISBN 9781478955870.

Potter, David. The iPhone that Saved George Washington. 7 CDs. 8:15 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9780553556186. digital download.

Torday, Piers. The Dark Wild. (The Last Wild: Bk. 2). 7 CDs. 8:43 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9781101890899. digital download.

young adult

AXELROD, Kate. The Law of Loving Others. 5 CDs. 6:08 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $35. ISBN 9780553552690. digital download.

Coyle, Katie. Vivian Apple at the End of the World. 7 CDs. 8:02 hrs. Dreamscape. 2015. $39.99. ISBN 9781633795235. 1 MP3-CD.

Donnelly, Jennifer. Rogue Wave. (Waterfire Saga, Bk. 2). 7 CDs. 8:12 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9780804168601. digital download.

FORMAN, Gayle. I Was Here. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $40. ISBN 9780553556100. digital download.

Hall, Maggie. The Conspiracy of Us. 8 CDs. 9:34 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $50. ISBN 9781101891322. digital download.

Jay, Stacey. Princess of Thorns. 9 CDs. 11 hrs. Tantor. 2015. $39.99. ISBN 9781494505899. 1 MP3-CD.

Kaufman, Amie & Meagan Spooner. This Shattered World. (Starbound: Bk. 2). 10 CDs. 12:42 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $50. ISBN 9780553397178. digital download.

Meyer, L.A. Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber. (Bloody Jack: Bk 12). 9 CDs. 11 hrs. Listen & Live. 2014. $29.95. ISBN 9781593166656.

Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. 9 CDs. 11:04 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $34. ISBN 9780553552218. digital download.

Shabazz, Ilyasah with Kekla Magoon. X. 8 CDs. 8:56 hrs. Brilliance. 2015. $14.99. ISBN 9781491502457.


This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.