April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Audio Reviews

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –Jude Duarte, her twin sister Taryn, and her half-fey, half-human sister Vivienne are taken to be raised in Faerieland by Vivienne’s father, Madoc, after he kills their parents.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 10 Up–Olga was always the good girl. She stayed home after high school, got a job as a receptionist, took classes at the local college, and always helped her family—until she died in a car crash.

Very, Very, Very Dreadful by Albert Marrin | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 7 Up –The influenza pandemic of 1918 directly killed or contributed to the deaths of 50 to 100 million people worldwide, and not only the very old and very young.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 10 Up –Since a young age Xifeng, who possesses great beauty, has been told by her aunt, Guma, that she is destined for greatness.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –This first in a companion series to Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy introduces listeners to a familiar world through the eyes of Malcolm Polstead, an innkeeper’s son in Oxford.

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Morris and Brown share the story of their daughter, 12-year-old Maddie, a charming young lady who loves mustaches, potatoes, and performing on stage—especially while wearing a mustache!

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 7 Up –After the sudden death of her Aunt Magnolia, 18-year-old Jane is orphaned, directionless, and alone.

Refugee by Alan Gratz | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 3-7–The term “refugee” is constantly in the news. In direct response, Gratz gets personal with desensitizing statistics, policies, and politics by giving names, families, and histories to three tweens fleeing three countries during three time periods.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –Eighteen-year-old Marin is paralyzed with grief. Following the unexpected death of the beloved grandfather who raised her, Marin flees California to New York and college, abandoning her support system.

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –An immigration story spanning three generations of women is told in moving ways through multiple perspectives.

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 4-6 –When their grandmother ends up in the emergency room, 11-year-old Ivy and her 14-year-old brother Seb are whisked into a secret underground city called Lundinor hidden beneath streets of London.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –While high school jock Rafe is okay with being gay, he’s tired of being the go-to LGBT celebrity in his supportive Colorado town.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 8 Up –Porter takes the story of Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga, sets it in New York, and turns it on its chicken legs.

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 […]