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February 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
All the World. 2011. 6min. Weston Woods, DVD, $59.95 (9780545325790). PreS–Gr. 1.
This lovely animated adaptation of the 2010 Caldecott Honor Book, beautifully illustrated by Marla Frazee and written by Liz Garton Scanlon, is warmly narrated by Joanne Woodward, whose voice matches the rhythmic text, which “follows a circle of family and friends through the course of one day.”
Bears of the Last Frontier. 2011. 3hr. PBS, DVD, $54.99.
An enthralling three-episode PBS Nature program hosted by bear ecologist and adventurer Chris Morgan takes a 3,000-mile journey deep into Alaska’s bear country to explore the amazing resiliency and adaptability of majestic brown, black, and polar bears.
Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World. 2011. 75min. Docurama, DVD, $24.95 (1-4229-4354-2).
Filmmaker Emiko Omori’s gorgeously filmed introduction to Don “Ed” Hardy, the “godfather of modern tattoo art,” and the history of tattooing is filled with interviews (including Hardy), cleverly presented tidbits, vibrant art, vintage footage, photos, and eclectic background music.
Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird. 2011. 82min. First Run Features, DVD, $24.95.
This spellbinding film, a moving tribute to Alabama native Nelle Harper Lee, is packed with vintage stills, footage, movie clips, radio bits, lovingly read excerpts, and interviews with more than 25 actors, novelists, celebrities, historians, friends, and family, including Lee’s 99-year-old outspoken sister. An undeniable treat for fans of the book and movie. (Top of the List winner—Video.)
Jefferson. 2011. 91min. History, DVD, $24.95 (1-4229-1036-9).
Beginning with Thomas Jefferson’s death, in 1826, this fascinating film backtracks to chronologically profile Jefferson through onscreen commentary and voice-over narration seamlessly melded with paintings, drawings, authentic dramatizations, and beautiful shots of Monticello and other sites.
LennonNYC. 2010. 115min. PBS, DVD, $24.95 (1-4229-9897-5).
Focusing on Lennon’s post-Beatles years in New York City, this compelling documentary includes rare home-movie and studio footage as well as current interviews with Yoko Ono and numerous friends and associates.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. 2011. 11min. Weston Woods, DVD, $59.95 (9780545296311). PreS–Gr. 2.
A bouncy music score and amusing sound effects enhance this delightful animated presentation of Mo Willems’ picture book, in which Wilbur, a naked mole rat, scandalizes his peers by wearing clothes.
Play It Out: Understanding Sexual Consent. 2011. 23min. Mazzarella, DVD, $149. Gr. 8–12.
What “consent is and is not” is explored in this excellent program, which consists of unrehearsed, improvised, well-acted scenarios introduced by a host who explains the young actors’ verbal and physical cues and offers information and advice.
Standing Bear’s Footsteps. 2011. 57min. NAPT, DVD, $225.
Poetic visuals, dramatic reenactments, sepia photographs, interviews, and expert narration enhance this powerful documentary that introduces the Ponca people, exiled from their Nebraska homeland in 1877, and Chief Standing Bear, who fought injustices in a high-profile federal-court trial.
Tamara Lackey’s Capturing Life through (Better) Photography. 2011. 90min. Lackey Ballard, DVD, $27.99 (9780984445127).
Audio for Adults
The Adults. By Alison Espach. Read by Tavia Gilbert. 2011. 10hr. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99 (9781611200133).
Espach’s coming-of-age debut novel, full of wit, emotion, and sensitivity, is read by Gilbert, whose pitch-perfect delivery reflects a cast of likable—and unlikable—characters, including snarky teens and dramatic adults.
Bossypants. By Tina Fey. Read by the author. 2011. 5.5hr. AudioGO, CD, $64.99 (9781609417192).
Why read the best-selling memoir when you can hear Fey recounting her early days in Pennsylvania, her experience at Chicago’s Second City, and so much more, including details about Saturday Night Live and her laugh-out-loud impersonation of Sarah Palin? This exceptional, irresistible audio, read with perfect timing by Fey, is a not-to-be-missed title. (Top of the List winner—Audio.)
Clara and Mr. Tiffany. By Susan Vreeland. Read by Kimberly Farr. 2011. 16hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45 (9780307876720).
Farr does a bang-up job portraying widowed Clara Driscoll and her relationship with Louis Comfort Tiffany and other characters Clara meets in Tiffany’s studio and Lower East Side boardinghouse at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Confession. By John Grisham. Read by Scott Sowers. 2010. 14.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45 (9780307702944).
Donté Drumm is days away from an execution in Texas for a crime he didn’t commit when the real killer confesses. Drumm’s lawyer and others work to save his life in a nail-biting narrative, read in Sowers’ remarkably versatile tones.
The Four Just Men. By Edgar Wallace. Read by Bill Homewood. 2011. 4.5hr. Naxos, CD, $28.98 (9781843794554).
Classic mystery fans will rejoice in Homewood’s superb reading of Wallace’s brief but dramatic 1905 tale, which pits four wealthy European men (assigned distinctive accents and cadences) against those invoking political injustice in Great Britain.
The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam. By Chris Ewan. Read by Simon Vance. 2011. 7hr. AudioGO, CD, $64.95 (9780792778400).
Vance is convincingly charming in his portrayal of urbane British mystery writer and thief-for-hire Charlie Howard in this series opener read in a variety of accents (British, American, Dutch, and French) representing the colorful characters in this mystery caper.
The Graduate. By Terry Johnson. Read by Kathleen Turner and others. 2011. 107min. LA Theatre Works, CD, $25.95 (1-58081-820-X).
Turner reprises her Broadway role as sultry Mrs. Robinson in this stage adaptation of the classic, featuring sound effects and an outstanding ensemble cast, including Matthew Rhys as Benjamin Braddock and Devon Sovari as Elaine Robinson.
Happy Accidents. By Jane Lynch. Read by the author. 2011. 7hr. Hyperion/Voice, CD, $29.99 (9781401326135).
Lynch reads her autobiography with the open and heartfelt candor of a best friend, bringing a firm foundation to her expert narration, filled with emotion and a full spectrum of sentiment that colors her voice in this must-have audio.
Life Itself. By Roger Ebert. Read by Edward Herrmann. 2011. 14hr. AudioGO, CD, $94.99 (9781611137927).
Film critic Ebert’s surprisingly engaging, affecting memoir is made even more so by actor and acclaimed audiobook narrator Herrmann’s sensitive reading. His sonorous delivery is a nice counter to Ebert’s signature glibness.
Middlemarch. By George Eliot. Read by Juliet Stevenson. 2010. 35hr. Naxos, CD, $152.98 (9781843794394).
Listeners should not miss this splendid production of Eliot’s classic nineteenth-century novel, rich with intriguing characters and read in Stevenson’s clear tones and precise British accent.
Moonlight Mile. By Dennis Lehane. Read by Jonathan Davis. 2010. 8.5hr. Harper, CD, $34.99 (9780062010865).
Davis nails the Boston accents and shows sensitivity in his portrayal of smart-mouthed but unfailingly moral Patrick Kenzie as he once again searches for Amanda McCready and revisits the case that has haunted him since Gone, Baby, Gone (1998).
The Tiger’s Wife. By Téa Obreht. Read by Susan Duerden. 2011. 11hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780307877024).
In her seductive and mesmerizing alto, Duerden navigates the intricacies and emotional intensity of this challenging, lyrical novel, composed of stories within stories and alternating between modern-day Balkans and post-WWII Yugoslavia.
A Trick of the Light. By Louise Penny. Read by Ralph Cosham. 2011. 12hr. Macmillan, CD, $36.99 (9781427213204).
Cosham narrates in an accent appropriate to the Quebec setting, and his sonorous voice and rhythmic pacing allow listeners to picture the inhabitants of atmospheric Three Pines, a sleepy town near Montreal, the site of the latest murder in this newest series title.
Audio for Youth
After Ever After. By Jordan Sonnenblick. Read by Nick Podehl. 2011. 5hr. Brilliance, CD, $54.97 (9781611061352). Gr. 5–8.
Podehl is the perfect reader for this irresistible story of eighth-grade cancer survivor Jeffrey and his best friend, Tad, whose cancer returns. Podehl changes inflections and pacing to authentically reflect the middle-school students’ frustrations, confusion, angst, and joy.
Beauty Queens. By Libba Bray. Read the by author. 2011. 14.5hr. Scholastic, CD, $44.99 (9780545315234). Gr. 8–12.
Theatrically trained Bray lets loose in her reading of the lighthearted, laugh-out-loud mayhem that ensues when an airplane carrying a load of beauty queens crashes on an island, leaving the teen contestants to fend for themselves.
Chicken Little. By Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley. Read by Walter M. Mayes. 2011. 8min. Weston Woods, CD, $59.95 (9780545295949). PreS–K.
This read-along of the Emberleys’ retelling of the classic is a gem. Mayes’ energetic narration, as well as background sounds and harmonica and fiddle music, perfectly complements the eye-popping illustrations and joyful text.
Countdown. By Deborah Wiles. Read by Emma Galvin. 2011. 7.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9780307879677). Gr. 5–7.
Set in 1962 amidt worries about a nuclear disaster, this audio integrates snippets of songs, speeches, radio reports, and more into the soundtrack. Galvin voices 11-year-old Franny in tones of innocence and dawning adolescence to complete the package.
The Emerald Atlas. By John Stephens. Read by Jim Dale. 2011. 11.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $35 (9780307879783). Gr. 4–7.
Wizards, dwarfs, enemies, witches, and more appear in this fantasy story, impressively read by Dale in his distinctive British-laced accent, which he alters with seamless consistency, allowing listeners to differentiate characters throughout the complex plot.
Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices. By Walter Dean Myers. Read by Muhammad Cunningham and others. 2010. 1.5hr. Live Oak, CD, $28.95 (9781430108405). Gr. 6–10.
This collection of remarkable poems, in which fictional Harlem residents tell their stories, is read by 13 outstanding narrators, whose vivid portrayals amplify vintage sepia-toned photographs in the accompanying paperbound book. Impressive jazz and blues period music seals the deal.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery. By Maryrose Wood. Read by Katherine Kellgren. 2011. 6hr. Listening Library, CD, $50 (9780307917003). Gr. 4–6.
Teen governess Miss Penelope Lumley moves to a mansion in London with her feral charges, three wolflike children, in this rollicking adventure, expressively narrated by Kellgren, who changes tones, pitch, and inflections to match the characters.
The Knife of Never Letting Go. By Patrick Ness. Read by Nick Podehl. 2010. 12hr. Brilliance, CD, $69.97 (9781441889003). Gr. 8–12.
In this 2011 Odyssey Honor title, Todd discovers a hole in the Noise—a swirling, unsettling cloud of thoughts—and is sent away from town armed with a knife and his mother’s journal. Podehl captures the characters’ dialects and personalities in this shocking tale of secrets and deceits.
The Marbury Lens. By Andrew Smith. Read by Mark Boyett. 2010. 11hr. Brilliance, CD, $74.97 (9781441888402). Gr. 10–12.
After arriving in London with his best friend, 16-year-old Jack Whitmore is entrusted with a pair of glasses that takes him into a deeply disturbing place called Marbury. Through a kaleidoscope of shifting accents and seamless transitions, Boyett crawls inside Jack’s brain, feeding listeners his inner thoughts and visions.
Okay for Now. By Gary D. Schmidt. Read by Lincoln Hoppe. 2011. 9hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9780307915948). Gr. 6–9.
In this companion to The Wednesday Wars (2007), eighth-grader Doug Swieteck has plenty of strikes against him, but as his confidence grows, Hoppe mirrors the transformation through vocal tones that move from bitter resignation to rising hope.
Rotters. By Daniel Kraus. Read by Kirby Heyborne. 2011. 9hr. Listening Library, CD, $65 (9780307941824). Gr. 9–12.
This disturbingly haunting tale, in which teenager Joey Crouch becomes a willing participant in his father’s grave-robbing escapades, is an extraordinary audio, with Heyborne consistently voicing both teens and adults, including a crusty group of “diggers,” whose tones range from menacing to paternalistic.
The Secret Garden. By Frances Hodgson Burnett. Read by Finola Hughes. 2011. 8.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $37 (9780307746122). Gr. 3–6.
The audio format is a perfect medium to introduce youngsters to this classic story featuring orphan Mary Lennox, who is sent to live at her reclusive uncle’s manor. Reading in a lovely English accent and switching dialects when necessary, Hughes emphasizes the rich descriptive passages and dialogue.
Thunder over Kandahar. By Sharon E. McKay. Read by Mozhan Marno. 2011. 6.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $39 (9780307879714). Gr. 7–12.
Marno’s fierce, intense reading fits the troubled war zone, and British and Afghan accents suit the characters, including 14-year-old Yasmine, who embarks on a dangerous journey to Pakistan after her parents are shot in Afghanistan.
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