Always October

8 CDs. 8:15 hrs. Full Cast Audio. 2013. $55. ISBN 9781936223480.
Gr 3–7—Two years ago, after his father went missing, Jake found a friend in his across-the-cemetery neighbor, Lily, who, it turned out, is no stranger to missing parents herself. Lily is a huge help when Jake is called on to help save a baby called Little Dumpling who's been left on Jake's doorstep. Little Dumpling transforms into the cutest baby monster you ever did see, and the friends are catapulted into an adventure when they learn that other monsters have plans for Little Dumpling as well. The full cast narration gives a distinct voice to each of the well-defined characters. The story (HarperCollins, 2012) is told alternating Jake and Lily's point of view and these two strong voice actors, Zac Fletcher and Nancy O'Connor, are well cast. Horror novel-loving Lily tends toward colorful analogies (the mausoleum was "as black as a coal bin at midnight" and old maps are "cooler than Frankenstein's pink pajamas") while Jake's ordered mind leads to his detail-oriented narration. Jake's obsessive compulsive tendencies are handled with care. Some of the sound effects can be cheezy, such as the lightning bolt the night Little Dumpling arrives, but they work well with Coville's purposefully campy B-movie writing style. This is a worthy addition to any youth services library. Give this to readers who don't like their horror too scary.—Susan Stumbaugh, Naperville Public Library, IL

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