Summertime means travel, and for many people that means lots of books, movies and other “stuff” in the minivan/car to keep people busy on long trips. Audio CDs can be a great way to while away those hours.
Here are just a few great audio versions of favorite books to delight the whole family. I can think of many more, but these ones shout out to me, “Summer!”:
1. One of our family favorites is the Radio Theatre production of the Chronicles of Narnia. Normally, I’m an unabridged snob, meaning that I much prefer the unabridged versions of novels to their abridged or shortened versions. This 19-CD set is abridged, but so well done and so captures the spirit of Narnia that we listen to it over and over.
2. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster’s classic comic tale of the conflict between numbers and words (and a whole lot more), is available in a fantastic narration by actor David Hyde Pierce. I’ve tried to read this aloud, and it’s a real challenge, so I’m grateful for this version. Bonus at the end of this audio version is an interview with Norton Juster about his writing of the book. Terrific!
3. Betsy-Tacy, first in the series of Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, is nicely done by actress Sutton Foster. I wish more of them were in audio format, but I’ve only seen Betsy-Tacy.
4. We’ve read many times, but not yet listened to The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall’s wonderful summer novel on audio CD. I see one is available now, and I’ve got it reserved at the library. Birdsall writes multi-sibling stories in the wry and charming style of E. Nesbit and Edward Eager.
5. All-of-a-Kind Family tells the sweet, slice-of-life story of a Jewish family in early 20th century New York’s Lower East Side. The narration is lively and enjoyable.
6. E.B. White narrated two of his classic novels, and these are still available as audio CDs. I can’t pick a favorite, so I’ll list them both: The Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte’s Web. White’s spare and just right; in Trumpet of the Swan, in particular, there is humor for both the children and the adults.
In our family, we do own some favorite audio books on CD, but often we will borrow them from the library through the inter-library loan system. Some libraries have online audio downloads available, and there are services like audible.com.
What are some of your family’s favorite Audio CDs? Or can you share some ways you enjoy your family’s favorite books?