The art of audio books for road trips – the kid edition

Huzzah!  Next week we’re headed to the beach and this means finding an audio book or two for the drive.  Audio books for kids are hit and miss in my experience, often the story is wonderful, but the reader’s voice sounds old and doesn’t fit the overall mood of the story.  As my oldest put it, the main character is a 12 year old girl, why did they choose a reader who sounds 80?  I stopped listening to audio books for the past few years because of this.  “French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew” by Peter Mayle, read perfectly by Simon Jones, being the exception, but it’s not for kids.

Some of my favorite children’s books of all time are written by Beverly Cleary.  Ramona stories top the list, her imagination and actions are hilarious and colorful. But Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy have a soft place in my heart, his being the first Cleary books I was introduced to.  To my delight, I discovered an audio book of “Henry and the Paper Route” read by Neil Patrick Harris.  He reads the story with a perfect pitch, and enthusiastic energy that draws a young listener in.   I noted one kid suppressing a fit of giggles at his voice for a character named Mrs. Pringle.

Not that all readers of children’s stories have to be especially young, “There’s a Wolf In My Pudding: Twelve Twisted, Tortured, Grim and Gruesome, Tall and Terrible Tales”, written by David Henry Wilson, read by Tony Robinson, is sheer genius!  This was our first experience trying audio books during road trips with children, and it was a roaring success.

For next week, I also chose a wild card selection, “The Graveyard Book”, written and read by Neil Gaiman.  It’s a wild card because the beginning is said to be pretty scary.  Hmmmm, might give that a listen to without the youngest around, and go find another choice that’s a little less intense.

There are lots of books I love, but loving the audio format is another story.  What are your favorite audio books, children’s or otherwise?


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