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Check It Out

Courier Article by Carol Cariens
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Audio Books Can Make Time, Miles Disappear

Holiday travel checklist. Luggage packed and stowed in the trunk, hatch, or on the luggage rack. Check. Packages for the relatives wrapped and stowed in the car/van. Check. Kids in car seats and back seat with seat belts fastened. Check. Something to entertain the whole family while traveling. Oops. What can you do? The solution is as easy as Santa sliding down the proverbial chimney. Stop by the library before leaving town and check out a stack of audio books. There's variety galore, everything from classics to contemporary favorites, humorous to serious. Audio books will make those miles disappear and you'll be at Grandma's before you know it. May we suggest these titles…

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood. Winnie-the-Pooh and all the other denizens of A. A. Milne's beloved Hundred Acre Wood are back with wonderful adventures to share once again. They are anticipating the return of Christopher Robin to the Wood and wonder if he will remember them all. Time has stood still for these beloved characters and we all are young once again because of them. Written by David Benedictus Return is the first officially sanctioned Pooh collection since the publication of The House at Pooh Corner some eighty years ago. Since there are no pictures to share in an audio book it's up to the narrator to paint the stories for us in our thoughts and I'm pleased to say that Jim Dale (narrator of the Harry Potter audio books) contributes his considerable vocal talents to the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood. Hearing these new stories was as comfortable as having "elevenses". Length: approximately 3 hours, 3CDs.

The Mercy Watson Collection: Volume 1. Quick—do you know…who loves hot toast with a great deal of butter, loves to ride in a car, and is known as a "porcine wonder"? Bet your beginning reader knows. It's Mercy Watson, the portly, pink pig belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Watson and the brain child of Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. Mercy stars in a series of easy chapter books that are as exuberant as Mercy herself, now presented in audio book format. Volume 1 contains two Mercy stories, "Mercy Watson to the Rescue" and "Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride". Both show off her particular penchant for getting in and out of trouble. Lots of laughs here for everyone. With actor-playwright Ron McLarty's soothing voice providing a grandfatherly touch, you'll want to listen to other Mercy tails, er, tales, too. Length: 42 minutes, 1 CD.

The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper. Merciless Marvin the Magnificent and his rodent gang are back! In this tribute to New York City, Christmastime, and Macy's Department Store, we find Marvin and his posse (Raymond the Rat and Fats the Fearless) waiting out winter in a long forgotten dollhouse in Macy's Toy Department. It's a good life. Food to filch at night, old movies to watch in the TV department, and best of all, Santa, who leaves them yummy tidbits. Then one day, Santa does not show up for work, nor the next day, or the next. Macy's is at a loss. Sensing trouble, Marvin and his gang spur into action and set out to solve the mystery of the disappearing Claus. Will they find Santa in time for Christmas? Will Fats ever stop eating pickles long enough to help out? Will Raymond's grandiose plan to rescue Santa work? Listen to this full-cast interpretation of Jean Van Leeuwen's Capraesque novel and help solve the mystery along with the trio. Bonus track includes Marvin reciting "The Night Before Christmas" in his best Brooklynese accent. Length: approximately 3 hours, 3 CDs.