I haven't done a book review in a while and since we just got back from a long car trip during which we listened to several audio books, I decided a book review was in order. Now I'm distinctly reviewing these books as audio books because some books lend themselves to being read aloud and some do not.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo and read by Graeme Malcolm
We, especially Parker, fell in love a while ago on a car trip with Because of Winn Dixie by DiCamillo. I reviewed this book in a previous post. I had seen The Tale of Despereaux at the library, but never picked it up. Then my sister took the boys to see the movie when it came out, but again I didn't pay much attention. I was quickly picking out audio books from our local library an hour before we left for our trip and I grabbed this one. I am so glad I did! We all thoroughly enjoyed the book. Okay, truth be told, Josie did not really enjoy it because she prefers classic rock so we had to listen to music until she fell asleep and then we put on Despereaux. Warning, this is not happy little book and there might be some parts which are scary to some children. Graeme Malcolm really makes this book an enjoyable listen. He totally nailed the different characters and made it quite entertaining. Parker said the movie was better because it wasn't as violent, but he gave the audio book a thumb up. The kids wanted to keep The Tale of Despereaux for another listen after we returned home. The version we checked out was unabridged so it was perfect for a long car ride. Since this is a vegan blog, I will warn you this is not a vegan book and could be upsetting for the rat lovers out there. The rats are the villains and there is talk of eating and killing. There is even child abuse. Okay, I'm not selling the book, am I? You just have to hear it. The way it is done is quite funny and entertaining and there might even be a lesson or two thrown in. It is a fairy tale through and through. None of the characters are perfect and none completely flawed (okay some of them are very, very flawed, but somewhat lovable at the same time), but they are enchanting and just believable enough for the listener to care about them, but larger than life enough to be funny.
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl and read by Eric Idle
This sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which we listened to on a previous car trip as well and it is so much better than the movie I saw as a child...I haven't seen the Johnny Depp version) was a hit for the boys. They were laughing out loud at this fantastically crazy audio book. Eric Idle did a great job with the voices and even Josie was interested for a little while (probably because she would hear her name from time to time since one of the characters is Grandma Josephine). It was so nice to listen to this book on the way home, which for us seems to take longer than the way there. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator kept the kids interested and giggling. It is just so over the top that even parts that could be scary (Vermicious Knids in space eating pretty much anything and Minusland) are quite funny. Again, nothing redeemingly vegan about this book, but it does have a pretty funny poem about the president which remind me of "W". It was just goofy enough for an almost nine and four and half year old boys to forget they were sitting in a car.