Estate planning lawyer and mom to two boys. My older son liked audiobooks as an infant, and I've listened to a lot since then.
I'm torn about how to review this book. I adore Stephen Fry's narration, and we all have loved the Paddington stories. I'd particularly recommend the other two that are available on Audible. I realize this comment may be unfair, but I didn't notice how short this one was when I bought it. The other two audios are over 2 hours long and this is like 13 minutes. So I wanted to warn any prospective purchasers who thought this was volume 3 of a wonderful series.
On the other hand, anyone who loves children's books on audio needs to listen to Paddington as read by Fry. I would just recommend the other 2 recordings.
When my sons and I listen to audiobooks, I usually enjoy them as much as the kids. This wasn't one of those times. That said, my 11 year old son finished the book in just a few sittings, on an airplane. He said this wasn't his favorite and wasn't interested in listening to the sequels, but clearly it held his interest while he was listening. His biggest complaint was that the focus of the story was on dating and relationships, and he assumed from the title it would be mostly tied in to Star Wars.
This is a popular series so I assume our experience is an anomaly, but wanted to share our thoughts in case you have a kid who doesn't like relationship drama, or like me want to find books you both enjoy.
What is there to say, I am a 40-something professional man with kids who like to listen to light books while on the bus to work.
While on vacation and driving the length of California back up from San Diego I downloaded this book for my family to listen to as we drove the long slog of I5. What a great choice!!! My 5 year old daughter was engrossed by this story and did not speak a peep for 6 hours straight as we drove the last 400 miles from Northern Cali to Washington. My wife was also engrossed and for the first time on that vacation I was able to experience a bit of quiet, the whole family quietly listened to the antics of Ramona and enjoyed her little story.
About the story itself...I never read these books as a child so was unfamiliar with them when I started. Basically this series follows the growth of a precocious little girl, named Ramona, and all her little innocent escapades as she grows up. The first book starts with Ramona age 4 and each subsequent book she is a year older. (well.. at least so far, we have only gotten through 4 books) Nothing huge happens here, no monsters need defeating, no saving the world, just little Ramona trying to learn how to grow up and be a good person. Her trials are things like not being sure her kindergarten teacher likes her, or dealing with the fallout of a bad tantrum. They are small things, but they are told beautifully and I actually think my 5 (soon to be 6) year old daughter enjoyed them all the more because she could so well relate to the feelings (and trials) Ramona was having and experiencing. As adults, my wife and I found the stories endearing and funny as the exploits of Ramona are very familiar to anybody who has had (or has) young children. Ms. Channing’s performance is wonderful, and she really brings to life all the characters. I highly recommend this series for anybody with young children. One thing though, Ms. Cleary sometimes gives away (or almost) the secrets of things like Santa Claus/tooth fairy/etc... Early in this series Ramona loses a tooth and Ms. Cleary alludes to (but does not actually explicitly reveal) Daddy being the actual tooth fairy, that part takes about 2 min....you can easily see it coming and you may want to skip ahead if you want to make sure that you can preserve that little fiction.