Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman | SLJ Audio Review

redstarCUSHMAN, Karen. Grayling’s Song. 4 CDs. 5 hrs. Recorded Books. Jul. 2016. $46.75. ISBN 9781501916922. digital download.

Untitled-21Gr 3-6– Cushman delivers an intriguing cast of characters in a fantastical tale set in a medieval world. A dark cloud is turning Grayling’s demanding hedgewitch mother and other “wise folk” into trees. Though Grayling is shy and unsure, after she assembles her mother’s potions and learns her songs, the teen sets out to find her mother’s stolen grimoire (book of magic). Along the way, Grayling is joined by a shape-shifting mouse, an old weather witch with her whiny niece, an alluring enchantress, a professor of divination, and, finally, a young man trapped as a fire-breathing snake. Gifted with determination and courage, Grayling leads her assortment of companions, who all contribute their unique talents to help her achieve her goal. After discovering the surprising source of the black cloud, Grayling returns home to find her mother restored. With new confidence, the teen sets out again to seek a new life. A sequel featuring Grayling’s next journey seems likely. Katherine Kellgren’s superior narration fills the magical story with clear, melodic singing and unique vocal styles for each character. VERDICT With a strong female protagonist, amusing characters, lilting music, and endnotes that explain the author’s inspiration, this is a top-notch choice for public and school libraries serving elementary and middle school listeners. [“Young fans of magic will revel in delving into this new world with its cast of unique characters”: SLJ 3/16 review of the HMH Clarion book.]–Barbara Wysocki, formerly at Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT

This review was published in the School Library Journal November 2016 issue.

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