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.
My 10 year old and I went right to this one after listening to The Giver. We loved it even more than that one! My daughter read ahead during reading time at school (she checked out the book from the school library) but she would still go back with me to listen to the story so I could keep up. The narrator does a wonderful job of portraying the different voices in the story, which is told from the point of view of children.
Kira is the main character. She is an adolescent girl who is growing up in a harsh and fairly primitive community. This story seems to be set in a dystopian future, after some undescribed calamity has reduced society to a level of subsistence and survival. She is orphaned, alone, and has a twisted leg. She struggles with how to survive in the community that is dominated by the physically strong. Kira is an artist and has a special gift for weaving. The community leaders recognize this ability and take her in for a unique role. However, Kira's freedom of artistic expression is also taken away. She gradually recognizes that life could be different.
The author uses humor and foreshadowing to make the story fun and suspenseful. We enjoyed pausing it to talk about what had happened, what we thought of the different characters, and what we thought would happen next. The story ends in a way that leaves much room for thought and interpretation. We immediately went on to download the third book in this series: The Messenger. I can't wait to start listening to it tonight!
As the parent of a child with dyslexia, I am so happy to have discovered Audible.com. My daughter and I can listen to many interesting and challenging books that are at her intellectual level, which would be very time consuming for her to read in print. We choose books she can check out of her school library and she reads ahead with the printed versions at school. She takes Accelerated Reader tests on the books and earns points just like her classmates, and she is developing a joy of reading that I don't think would be there if she had to struggle through the entire printed book.