I'm not blind drunk, I'm just blind.
I actually started this series, although I didn't know it was such at the time, back in 1993 whenI was in Junior High, with the fourth volume. It wasn't until about ten years later that I got the proper skinny on it and read the series in proper order. Over Sea, Under Stone opens with the Drew family, Dick, Ellen and their three young children, arriving in Cornwall for a summer vacation, which they'll be spending with their Great Uncle Merry, a mysterious professor who often appears unexpectedly on the Drews' doorstep to vanish just as quickly in the night. While exploring the massive house that Uncle Merry, Meriman Lyon to the wider world, the three Drew children, Simon, Jane and Barney, discover an ancient manuscript which they believe to be a map showing the location of what they believe to be an ancient treasure. Though a game to the three Drews, the importance of the manuscript begins to surface, first when a mysterious man and a woman claiming to be his sister appear and ask the Drews about secret passages and maps, then even more so later when the house is burglarized while the Drews sleep. Realizing what the thieves must have been after, the childen show the manuscript, which they managed to keep safe, to Uncle Merry, who reveals that the treasure is in fact an ancient grail from the time of King Arthur. Thus begins a dangerous race as the Drews attempt to decipher the clues of the map and reach the grail before their myysterious enemies do. But it quickly becomes apparent that their foes, though relatively few in number, are extremely resourceful, and the outcome of the race is continually in doubt.
As usual with audiobooks, the narrator can sometimes ruin the experience even if the story itself is good. Fortunately that wasn't the case here. British actor Alex Jennings not only has a good voice for storytelling but also a talent for accents and dialects that lend personality to the characters he portrays, from the Cornish accents of the village locals to Uncle Merry's deep, commanding tones. This is definitely a listen I wuld recommend to others. It's not an entirely traditional fantasy with swords, dragons and wizards but it's a gripping tale all the same.
I've been a fan of this book since a teacher read it to me and the rest of my class when I was in, fittingly enough, the fourth grade. It tells the story of Peter Hatcher and the trials and tribulations he goes through having a little brother like Farley Drexel AKA Fudge. Such misadventures include Fudge causing Peter's advertiser father to lose a potential client, to jumping off a set of monkey bars and losing a few of his own teeth, culminating in an act so bizarre even now I find it hard to imagine. Audible had this book, read by the lady of the hour herself. I've always been rather skeptical of authors reading their own novels since some just don't have the voice for it (Stephen King comes to mind for me rather quickly as does Douglas Adams), but Judy, though she took a little bit of getting used to, grew on me. The author knows what is or her characters should sound like and Judy does them justice, from Peter to his parents, even Fudge's temper tantrums. An excellent book brought excellently to life, and by its author no less. I always like it when an author is able to read their own work and actually give it personality.
I was a fan of the Fudge books when I was in grade school, but I never knew there was a fourth installment until recently. When I discovered Audible had it I decided to use one of my last set of credits to buy it.
Double Fodge opens with Farley Drexel Hatcher, better known as Fudge, asking how much it would cost to buy New York. This question is just the first sign of a major obsession with money and all things connected to it. As time goes by the rest of the family begins to grow concerned about Fudge's unhealthy obsession, but they're at a loss for how to teach Fudge the truth about money. Finally Peter and Fudge's dad agrees to a suggestion from the boys' grandma to take Fudge to Washington D.C. to tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing where money is printed. Far from curing Fudge's obsession this trip has just the opposite effect, ee causing him to go so far as to declare his intention to buy Washington, now renamed Fudgington. A sideeffect of the trip is the unexpected reunion with a family of long lost relatives, the Honolulu Hatchers. This family of five includes Warren Hatcher's cousin Howie, accompanied b his wife Udora, their twin daughters Flora and Fauna and their three-year-old son Farle Drexel also nicknamedFudge. This, of course, creates no small amount of friction between the two small boys.
Things only become more chaotic when the Honolulu Hatchers, who didn't exactly endear themselves to Peter and his family, suddenly invite themselves to stay in the family's small apartment. This of course leads to a whole series of mishaps as the two Farley Drexels try to coexist and Peter and his parents try to cope with the rather uptight nature of their newly-discovered relations. Will everyone survive the visit with their sanity intact? You'll have to listen on to find out.
Given my daughter's (who is almost 3) love affair with the Frog & Toad audio collection, I downloaded this one in an attempt to add more variety to my commutes. This series has been another huge hit. Included are the stories of Owl at home, Grasshopper on the Road, Uncle Elephant, and the Small Pig.
Of these, "The Small Pig" suffers somewhat because it's obvious that some meaning was conveyed in the illustrations that is lost to the listener. However, that hasn't stopped my daughter from requesting it over and over again.
The narration of these stories is excellent, and the content and length are perfect for younger listeners.