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Katherine

Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States Member Since 2009

I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

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  • "Charming children’s fantasy"

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    Originally posted at Fantasy Literature

    Five Children and It combines eleven stories that Edith Nesbit wrote about five siblings who discovered a wish-granting fairy called The Psammead in the sandlot of the house they recently moved into. The stories were originally serialized in shorter form in Strand Magazine in 1900. The first story (the first chapter of the novel) tells how the children moved from London to Kent, explored their new house and yard, and found the Psammead. He grumpily agrees to grant the children a daily wish that will end at sundown.

    Each chapter tells the story of a single day, how the children wish for something, and how it goes wrong. Usually they wish for something obvious like beauty or money, but sometimes they accidentally wish for something they didn’t really want granted, such as when Cyril carelessly wishes that his baby brother would grow up. The consequences are always unexpected and usually quite awful, and the children have to get themselves out of the situation they got themselves into, often at a cost that leaves them poorer than they were before they made the wish. It’s all rather funny and there are many lessons learned. The take away message is to be careful what you wish for!

    I love Edith Nesbit’s stories — they’re still as humorous and wonderful as they were over 100 years ago. They’re delightfully old-fashioned. For example, the little boys play outside in coats and ties and have to roll down their stockings to show off their bruises. Nesbit is an intrusive narrator, often offering commentary and amusing insights about the characters or their predicaments and sometimes making polite suggestions for the reader’s own behavior. I thought the book was charming and I think it will appeal to any modern reader, child or adult.

    Five Children and It has been adapted into anime, comics, a BBC TV series and movies, and several children’s authors have expanded upon the concept in their own novels. Nesbit also wrote some later stories which included the Psammead.

    Five Children and It is easily found for free online since it’s now in the public domain. I listened to the audio version read by Johanna Ward who is absolutely wonderful. I got this book for $3 by “purchasing” this free Kindle version and then using the Whispersync feature to purchase the audio version. If you do likewise, make sure you’re getting Johanna Ward’s narration. There are others, but I doubt they could be better.

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    Five Children and It

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By E. Nesbit
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Curious to see if people on the other side of the globe walk upside down, Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane, and their baby brother start digging a hole to Australia. They don’t get too far, however, before they dig up a furry brown creature with bat’s ears. It is a Psammead, an ancient sand-fairy. The Sammyadd, as the children call it, grumpily tells them that he is obliged to grant their wishes, because making people’s wishes come true is what Sandfairies do. However, there is one catch: The wishes come undone at sunset.

    Katherine says: "Charming children’s fantasy"
  • "An endearing classic"

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    Another endearing children’s fantasy by a woman who obviously knows what children like. You can’t go wrong with Edith Nesbit and most of her books are in the public domain so you can get the free ebook at Amazon and add the whispersync narration. Great deal.

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    The Enchanted Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By E. Nesbit
    • Narrated By Virginia Leishman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Jerry, Jimmy, and Kathleen can’t go home for their school holiday because their cousin is sick with measles there. Instead, they stay at Kathleen’s school with the French teacher. One morning, they set out to find adventure. Instead, they find an enchanted place - and magic, too! Walking through a nearby forest, they discover an enormous mansion, where a girl lies asleep in the garden. Although she pretends to be an enchanted princess, she is Mabel, the housekeeper’s niece. But she has a ring that really is magical. It can make the wearer invisible and grant wishes.

    Katherine says: "An endearing classic"
  • "Get this version!"

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    This is one of the best children's stories I've ever read and this particular narration with Jim Dale is stunning. Totally excellent. Highly recommended.

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    Peter Pan

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By J.M. Barrie
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Fly away with Peter Pan to the enchanted island of Neverland! This first chapter book adaptation of the classic novel, originally published in 1911, tells the story of the boy who never grows up. And when they join Peter on his magical island, Wendy and her brothers are in for exciting encounters with mermaids, an Indian princess, and pirates! Let the amazing adventures begin!

    H. says: "This may not be the story you think you remember"
  1. Five Children and It
  2. The Enchanted Castle
  3. Peter Pan
  4. .

A Peek at twyla's Bookshelf

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58 REVIEWS / 73 ratings 3 Followers / Following 0
 
twyla's greatest hits:
  • Escape from the Carnivale: A Never Land Adventure

    "Love the Peter Pan series, this one was just OK"

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    I have a collection of the Peter Pan books that my son and I have listened to or read. We enjoy them. This one was very short. It was entertaining but compared to the others it was just ok. Good, but not Great.

  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans

    "Good Listen, Entertaining and Informative"

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    The idea of this book was very creative. Rush is a decent narrator. You are entertained and informed all at the same time. Enjoyed listening with my 12 year old son. He was impressed. Recommend

  • The Boxcar Children Collection: The Boxcar Children (Book 1), Surprise Island (Book 2), The Yellow House Mystery (Book 3)

    "Love these on Audio - Great stories!"

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    Had a great time listening to these stories with my 11 yr old son. I read all of these as a child and enjoyed hearing them all over again! Good books.

  • Joe Sherlock, Kid Detective Audio Collection

    "12 Year old Son - gives this 2 thumbs up!"

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    My son listened to this and he enjoyed it. He gave it 2 thumbs up.

Tad Davis

Tad Davis Philadelphia, PA USA 08-06-13
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  • "Nostalgic fairy tale, but at times ..."

    9 of 9 helpful votes

    What a pleasure it was to listen to this old story again. When I was a kid, I read it at least once a year, till I was in high school and "put away childish things." Dietz's easy-going story-telling style is perfectly suited to this book: you might just as easily be listening to tales of Lake Wobegon. He never quite loses the sense of innocence and child-like wonder that surrounds the story, but he captures the darker moments as well.

    And dark moments there are. The plot, such as it is, hinges on a murder in the graveyard, guilt, courage, and fear. Later, the man who committed the murder is overheard planning to kill the Widow Douglas as well - committing other outrages in the process. Tom and Becky are lost in the cave, facing a very real possibility of starving to death in the darkness.

    But Twain somehow manages to keep things in the realm of fairy tale; he was apparently storing up his harshest satire for the sequel.

    There are many wonderful readers of Twain on Audible - I'm not sure you can really go wrong with any of them. But Dietz's rendition of this story is one of the best.

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    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    The name "Tom Sawyer" is synonymous with the adventures of boyhood. Bold and clever, Tom gets into and out of trouble with an ease many listeners will envy. A story beloved by children, it also has relevance for adults. Twain's beloved classic of growing up in Midwest America is as popular today as when it was first published in 1876.

    Tad Davis says: "Nostalgic fairy tale, but at times quite dark"

What's Trending in Kids:

  • The Peter Rabbit Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Beatrix Potter
    • Narrated By Peter Batchelor
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    Beatrix Potter's most famous tales in one wonderful collection. Contains The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle,The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan, and many more!

  • Alice in Wonderland

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By B.J. Harrison
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
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    Alice begins her fantastic journey by following an unprecedented White Rabbit with a pocket watch. While in the topsy turvy world of Wonderland, Alice takes advice from a caterpillar and attends a mad tea party. She meets the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, and participates in a ludicrous courtroom scene. Each character has its own charming voice, as B. J. Harrison delivers one of his most whimsical performances.

    Amazon Customer says: "Such a good narrator!!!"
  • Rikki Tikki Tavi

    • ABRIDGED (35 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Curtis Sisco
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    (29)
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    A young mongoose protects his human family from two murderous cobras. English Nobel laureate Kipling's best story from The Jungle Book collection, "Rikki Tikki Tavi" has been adapted many times to film and television.

    Annette says: "Rikki Tikki Tavi"
  • The Giver

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Ron Rifkin
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    (1382)
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    (752)
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    (766)

    December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

    Stephanie says: "Awesome story, suspenseful, lots to think about!"
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  • Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Payne (translator)
    • Narrated By Bernard Cetaro Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
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    (3)
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    (3)

    The original story of Aladdin is a Middle-Eastern folk tale. It concerns an impoverished young man named Aladdin. He is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin's late father and convinces Aladdin and his mother of his goodness by making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. His real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave.

  • Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Hamilton Wright Mabie
    • Narrated By Samantha Worthen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
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    This volume contains a collection of fairy tales from a wide array of classical works. These immortal tales include "The Enchanted Stag", "Twelve Brothers", "Puss in Boots", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Light Princess", "Beauty and the Beast", "Hansel and Gretel", "Jack the Giant Killer", "The Second Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor", and "The Story of Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp".

    msamsara says: "Enjoyed it"
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    (1616)
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    (1610)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    JT says: "Anne Hathaway Shines Throughout This Audio Edition"
  • Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (690)
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    (627)
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    (623)

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

    Jay says: "A Beautiful Story"
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  • The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    Overall
    (3408)
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    (1564)
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    (1598)

    Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself.

    Teddy says: "Fun KIDS Book"
  • Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3478)
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    (1537)
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    (1565)

    Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems.

    Teddy says: "You see growth in the Author"
  • Elixir: A Covenant Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jennifer L. Armentrout
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex. Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for. Even if it means making war against the gods.

  • The Sing Song of Old Man Kangaroo

    • UNABRIDGED (8 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Phillip J. Mather
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    The kangaroo once ambulated on four legs. This charming story by Rudyard Kipling, and wonderfully narrated by Phillip J. Mather tells us how the kangaroo became the marsupial we know today.

  • The Boundless

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Kenneth Oppel
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
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    Will Everett has always wished for an adventure. Little does he know his adventure starts the moment he boards the Boundless. There is a murder, and now Will protects a key that can unlock the train¹s hidden treasures. Villains are fast on his heels and strange creatures are lurking outside the windows, as the Boundless hurtles across the country. Together with Maren, a gifted escape artist, and Mr. Dorian, a circus ringmaster with amazing abilities, Will must save the Boundless before someone else winds up dead.

  • How the Leopard Got His Spots

    • UNABRIDGED (14 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Phillip J. Mather
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    Kipling’s timeless classic of How the Leopard Got His Spots is skilfully narrated by Phillip J. Mather. Phillip’s mellifluous tones transport the listener, young or old, back to a time when the world map was indeed coloured red!

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  • Splat the Cat Makes Dad Glad

    • UNABRIDGED (7 mins)
    • By Rob Scotton
    • Narrated By Dan Bittner
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    When Dad's team loses a soccer game, Splat the Cat decides to cheer up his dad by entering them into a father-son three-legged race at the Cat School Game Day. When the race doesn't go the way Splat hopes, will he still succeed in making his dad glad again? Beginning listeners will love this hilarious addition to the Splat series that features the "-ad" sound!

  • The Beginning of the Armadillos

    • UNABRIDGED (16 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Phillip J. Mather
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    "The Beginning of the Armadillos" is a tale that focuses on two days in the lives of three creatures "who lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon": Stickly-Prickly the hedgehog, Slow-and-Solid the tortoise, and Painted Jaguar.

  • Otis and the Tornado

    • UNABRIDGED (9 mins)
    • By Loren Long
    • Narrated By Chris Sorensen
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    Otis the faithful farm tractor is frolicking in the meadow with his animal friends when an approaching tornado darkens the sky and threatens the farm. Rousing the animals for another game of follow-the-leader, Otis calmly guides them to the safety of a protected valley. But as the twister turns toward the barn, Otis hears the frantic bellowing of the bull, still locked in his pen.

  • When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm

    • UNABRIDGED (40 mins)
    • By Hannah Bonner
    • Narrated By Abigail McCue
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    If you think dinosaurs are cool, wait till you learn what covered Earth 430 million years ago. That’s long before dinos even existed. There wasn’t much on land - some really tiny plants and even smaller animals like millipedes and mites. But offshore life was another story. Six-foot-long relatives of modern scorpions roamed the open water, gobbling up smaller creatures. Fish were out there, too. There just weren’t many of them, and they were much different than today’s fish.

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  • The Art of Secrets

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By James Klise
    • Narrated By Dan Bittner, Denise Ashlynd, Josh Rivedal, and others
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    When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba’s Facebook page explodes, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again.

  • Framed in France: Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (51 mins)
    • By Jeff Brown
    • Narrated By Vinnie Penna
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    When Stanley Lambchop is asked to help catch an art thief in Paris, he's thrilled! Posing as a painting in the Louvre museum on a wall across from the famous Mona Lisa? - c'est magnifique! But Stanley soon grows bored - until he meets Etoile, an art student who shows him around the City of Light. Then when Stanley goes back to the museum, he soon realizes that the Mona Lisa looks…different. It's been switched for a fake!