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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
    Overall
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    (6)
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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
    Overall
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    (3)
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    (3)

    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
    Overall
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    (217)
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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 Teddy's Bookshelf

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Bronx, NY, United States 93 REVIEWS / 96 ratings Member Since 2011 1070 Followers / Following 22
 
Teddy's greatest hits:
  • Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2

    "You see growth in the Author"

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    I found myself enjoying this title the more the title progressed. It was one of those books that tends to build so smoothly up to those points of sheer action. Also of specific note is the growth that one is able to witness in the general writing style of the author. The way Christopher Paolini seems to tackle certain issues in this book as opposed to book one (Eragon) also lent to the book being even more enjoyable than the previous.

    Book 2 of the Inheritance Cycle is your typical mythical fantasy novel. I couldn't help but notice slight similarities with Star Wars regarding some of the twists that the story takes. That being said, I found the entire title put together very well. In this book you get a glimpse in the lives of the elves and see as Eragon himself grows into an impressive Dragon Rider. Another great addition to this story was Roran, Eragon's cousin, whose own struggles and quest becomes even more challenging and exciting than Eragon's it would seem. A number of new characters were introduced in this title and it would seem that no one from the previous novel was forgotten either, all reappearing in some form or another through the scope of the title.

    The narration grew on me throughout this book. You sometimes forget that it is one person doing the narration even though there are so many distinct voices, tones and intonations in the title. The narration in this case only adds to the title here.

    Truly an impressive listen all over. I look forward to listening to the third book in this series.

  • The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

    "Fun KIDS Book"

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    The quintessential truth about this book is that this is a book for kids. That is no to say that as am adult you can't or won't enjoy it but the long and short is this book was designed for kids. The author takes some obvious liberties taking this into consideration and if I have to base my review solely on it being a kids book... This book was actually great... Pity though I am not a kid nor do I have any at this time.

    I liked the concept of the book, the thought process that went into creating this mythical world intertwined with our current time was rather impressive to say the least. If turned into a more young-adult/adult genre book I would thoroughly have enjoyed it because I would think the characters would have a lot more depth and certain concepts about this world would have been thought out much better. From my personal vantage point the book would have probably gotten 2 or 3 stars but thinking of it as a kids book it would get 5 stars..... so a clear medium was found here in giving it 4 stars.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    "Anne Hathaway... Saved this for me"

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    Now that we have that out of the way... I won't spend much time on the story BUT... This is a jacked up children's book if it was meant to be one... For one they keep lopping off heads off of people! The 'Wizard of Oz' is at best a con-artist! And the characters are... let’s face it... gullible... Maybe I am reading too much into this story.. >_<

    Anne Hathaway though.... LOVE HER.... And thankfully she didn't massacre the book and did actually produce a performance worth 5 stars. To be honest, I changed my score from a 4 to a 5 stars because Anne actually got me through the book. I don't think anyone could make me be completely thrilled with the narration here but this is because I think the story was lacking so much (note also I am reviewing this right after listening to "Water for Elephants" and "Outlander" which are EXCELLENTLY written and even more EXCELLENTLY narrated). Even with the annoying squeaky voices (it does get annoying after the bazillion little person), Anne really kept me listening and I cut her slack for the squeaky voices because quite frankly, that would be how they sounded.

    I say this... Audible need to invite Anne Hathaway back to do a real book... and by a real book I mean a Jane Austen book! I think anything Jane Austen or even Phillipa Gregory (if we want to go more modern) would fit her.

Darwin8u

Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 11-08-13 Member Since 2011

A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

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  • "An adventurous hagiography, you kno..."

    12 of 12 helpful votes

    Finished reading this with my kids, but I probably enjoyed it the most. It was a fun introduction to Lawrence of Arabia written by Alstair MacLean in 1962. It focuses on the role that T.E. Lawrence played in the Arab Revolt during WWI. There is just enough wind-up with his early life, character, etc., and the history/geography of Arabia to insure the thrust of MacLean's small biography doesn't lose nonserious readers in a desert of Arab ignorance. But the book's real brilliance is in MacLean's depiction of the Capture of Aqaba, Battle of Tafileh and the Fall of Damascus. At the end, MacLean also ties the book off with a summary of the post-War years and some of the political results of T.E. Lawrence's work with Winston Churchill and the Colonial Office.

    Again, as a biography this is probably not where I would start for T.E. Lawrence. This is more literary hagiography than biography. Alistar MacLean is better known for his war novels like 'The Guns of Navarone' and 'Where Eagles Dare'. MacLean's book came out the same year as Lawrence of Arabia the academy award winning movie (which suggests this was one of those books intended to surf the wave of interest generated by a popular film). But still, if you are going to read one biography to your kids designed around a legend, saint, or mythmaker ... you could certainly feed the kids worse.

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    Sterling Point Books: Lawrence of Arabia

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Alistair Maclean
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
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    Best-selling author and screenwriter Alistair MacLean follows Lawrence as he breaks with tradition to live with Arabs and, using modern-day guerrilla tactics, helps them defeat the Turks and gain an independent state. In addition to the enthralling details of the campaign, MacLean provides valuable insight into the origins of the Middle East we know today.

    Darwin8u says: "An adventurous hagiography, you know, for kids!"

What's Trending in Kids:

  • The Peter Rabbit Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Beatrix Potter
    • Narrated By Peter Batchelor
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
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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!

    zilinying says: "Too fast for kid"
  • Alice in Wonderland

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By B.J. Harrison
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (321)
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    (272)
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    (267)

    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!!!"
  • The Giver

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Ron Rifkin
    Overall
    (1384)
    Performance
    (754)
    Story
    (768)

    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!"
  • Rikki Tikki Tavi

    • ABRIDGED (35 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Curtis Sisco
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
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    (26)
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    (26)

    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"
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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.

  • The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Sally Lloyd-Jones
    • Narrated By David Suchet
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (115)

    In The Jesus Storybook Bible, every story whispers his name. It tells the story beneath all the stories in the Bible.

    Beth says: "A Wonderful Buy!!"
  • Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (692)
    Performance
    (629)
    Story
    (625)

    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"
  • 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)
    Performance
    (1565)
    Story
    (1599)

    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"
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  • If I Stay

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gayle Forman
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (218)
    Story
    (217)

    In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck.

    Heidi P :) says: "Loved the story!"
  • The Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2485)
    Performance
    (1243)
    Story
    (1274)

    After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson, a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any "normal" friends.

    Bridget Westhoven says: "great family fare"
  • The Twelve Brothers

    • UNABRIDGED (12 mins)
    • By The Brothers Grimm
    • Narrated By Kathy Verduin
    Overall
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    What's it like to be a sister with 12 brothers? In this story it's pretty good, until she makes a mistake, and puts a spell on them for seven years, and she's speechless.... This story by the Brothers Grimm has an interesting spin, as told and acted by Kathy Verduin.

  • Elixir: A Covenant Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jennifer L. Armentrout
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
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    (2)
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    (2)

    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
    Overall
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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
    Overall
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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.

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  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Fancy Nancy: Sand Castles and Sand Palaces

    • UNABRIDGED (3 mins)
    • By Jane O'Connor
    • Narrated By Chloe Hennessee
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    Mom takes Fancy Nancy, JoJo, Bree, Freddy, and Frenchy to the beach! They spend the whole day building the most magnificent sand palace imaginable, but when the tide comes in, what will happen to their beautiful creation? Join Nancy as she discovers that the beach is full of spectacular surprises.