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Ages 8-10

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Robert

Robert Yamhill, OR, United States Member Since 2009

Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

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  • "My favorite book this year."

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    When I read reviewers write, “the best book I have ever read,” I thought yeah right! ‘must not have read many books. Well, I have read a fair bit myself and this is definitely one of the best written books I have ever read. I believe it is a book that one can read and reread and enjoy over and over and find something new in each reading of it. Not to be redundant, it is also one of the most fun and funniest I have ever read. It is a scholarly and even literary work, if you will. And yet, at the same time, the book is totally enchanting, witty and charming.

    The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table arose in the early Middle Ages, when England was just beginning to come under the influence of Christianity. When anyone retells the story, the author brings his own perspective to the tale of chivalry. Here T.H. White often appears to use the education of the young king Wart by Merlyn to educate the reader. While not in so many words, or maybe it is that: Merlin is a time-traveler. Not so much in the context of some science fiction novel but in his memory. Merlin is aware of past, present and the future. Certainly the author is aware of those times and uses those temporal events to tell his story. The book is in many ways a critique of mid-twentieth-century British culture. At first, things seem somewhat anachronistic but then we see that the narrator regularly references events and people in modern times to help tell his tale even more effectively.

    Both T.H. White’s The Once and Future King and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings were written in the shadow of World War II, and both reflect that context to some extent:

    “No. There is one fairly good reason for fighting - and that is, if the other man starts it. You see, wars are a wickedness, perhaps the greatest wickedness of a wicked species. They are so wicked that they must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man started them, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop him.” (Merlyn)

    Not only is T.H. White’s The Once and Future King full of anachronistic references to places and events of modern times, but it also plays fast and loose with time within the framework of the novel itself. Given the references to the death of Uther Pendragon in 1216 and the appearance of Thomas Malory at the end of the story, Arthur would have lived from 1201-1485. In effect, what White does is telescope almost three hundred years of English history and social development into the backdrop of a single narrative.

    The book is long. But multiple versions of the story of King Arthur are considered within its covers so how short can it be? No, this is the best of several interpretations of the legend and it is not too long. While much of the book’s ending dwells on allegory, philosophy and social commentary, it is done with and eloquence and prose that is hard to compare with.

    One of the young reviewers of this book that I found tried to figure out the audience for for whom the author intended and concluded there were many. I agree:

    For children and young adults-
    “I have been thinking ... about Might and Right. I don’t think things ought to be done because you are able to do them. I think they should be done because you ought to do them.” (Arthur). One of the central themes of the book is War: Right and Might.

    On one level, both Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and T.H.
    White’s The Once and Future King are children’s stories, yet both novels contain very
    serious social commentary clearly intended for adults. Who could argue though that the social satire found in these novels detracts too much from the ability of children to enjoy them. Could a child appreciate all that is contained within TOaFK? Certainly not. However, there are many stories in this legend and many that target the child in all of us. One need not read this entire book though I am sure a lust will always remain to do so.

    No reviewer could possibly do justice to this book. How about some more of the author’s own words:

    On Wisdom-
    “The best thing for being sad ... is to learn something. That is the only thing that never
    fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.” (Merlyn)

    This is a story about great compassion-
    “If I were made a knight ..., I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, a Hob does with
    his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.” (Wart)

    The author writes a great deal about the evolution of man-
    “Here, all you embryos, come here with your beaks and whatnots to look upon Our first
    Man. He is the only one who has guessed Our riddle, out of all of you, and We have great pleasure in conferring upon him the Order of Dominion over the Fowls of the Air, and the Beasts of the Earth, and the Fishes of the Sea. Now let the rest of you get along, and love and multiply, for it is time to knock off for the weekend. As for you, Man, you will be a naked tool all your life, though a user of tools. You will look like an embryo till they bury you, but all the others will be embryos before your might. Eternally undeveloped, you will always remain potential in Our image, able to see some of Our sorrows and to feel some of Our joys. We are partly sorry for you, Man, but partly hopeful.” (Badger)

    Much is written about human morality-
    “Morals ... are a form of insanity. Give me a moral man who insists on doing the right
    things all the time, and I will show you a tangle which an angel couldn’t get out of.” (Lionel)

    This title actually includes Books 1-5 of T.H. White’s magnum opus. It is not so much about world-building per se though there is enough of that. The book is more about us as humans and our nature... our intellectual, psychological, social and even political nature. The book is philosophical, satirical with even a little theology thrown in. Not too much; just the right amount. If it is action that ye seek, knockdown, drag out fighting, best look elsewhere. This is one more about relationships and different kinds of heroes.

    This is brilliant storytelling brilliantly read and performed. The narration by Neville Jason is as good as it gets. I could not recommend a book more highly.

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    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1156)
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    (966)
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    (961)

    The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: "The Sword in the Stone", "The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", "The Candle in the Wind", and "The Book of Merlyn".

    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"
  • "A Classic"

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    While Ursula K. Le Guin wrote several novels about the fantasy world of Earthsea, A Wizard of Earthsea appears to be the first of the main cycle by that name. I found it difficult to pin down whether the series is written for children and/or adults. I concluded that while there are a number of philosophical themes that adults could appreciate, the target audience was probably that of a younger age. Let’s say YAs.

    Further, on the subject of age, this is basically the coming of age story of a young mage named Ged who is drawn to wizardry and develops into just that as the story unfolds. There’s much in the way of magic, spells and personal discovery along the way. However, as Ged learns, all of the power and might of of a wizard comes with a price. Wizardry is not for the faint-hearted nor is its magic lightly wielded by the ignorant or arrogant. Much of this is taught Ged by Ogion his primary mentor along with his own life’s little (and not so little) foibles in and around Earthsea. Does all this sound a bit familiar?

    The monster of the story we learn is… uh, not so fast. That would be a major spoiler. And I believe the book is worth reading to discover that as well as the other things Ged learns along his way through apprenticeship and personal discovery. The book is very straight forward. That appears to be Le Guin’s style. After recently reading a bunch of China Mielville prior to Earthsea, the latter was a refreshingly, relaxing read. However, we probably should not be fooled by her simplicity. Contained within the pages are a depth and breath that can be easily missed if we’re not paying attention. What can I say; it’s obviously a classic and who could not recommend that.

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    A Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (556)
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    (405)
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    (412)

    When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name - Ged - and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught.

    Finance Guy says: "Elegant & unique fantasy, deliciously performed"
  1. The Once and Future King
  2. A Wizard of Earthsea: The...
  3. .

A Peek at James's Bookshelf

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Springfield, MO, United States 432 REVIEWS / 455 ratings Member Since 2010 92 Followers / Following 24
 
James's greatest hits:
  • The Once and Future King

    "People Who Say They are No Good are Always the"

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    Good Ones.
    Since you can get these five books for one credit, go ahead and get it, instead of one book at a time. Believe me if you buy the first book, you are going to want the second and if you buy the second, etc. Since this is five books I will go over each, in case you buy one at a time. I will try an be brief. I mean if if takes you as long to read the review as the book, why not just get the book.

    1, The Sword and The Stone (1938). This is the best of the five and is mostly a fantasy. Wart/Arthur is turned into several animals to learn about life. There is also an interesting part on boar hunting. Did you know on a boar spear there is a cross piece to keep the animal from running up the spear to get to you.

    2.The Witch In the Wood (1939) This is shorter, darker and not as funny, nor as good as the book before and after, but necessary as it explains the origin of the Round Table.

    3. The Ill-Made Knight (1940) This is all about Lancelot. You really get to know his character, matter of fact there is more character building in this book then the others. This is the longest of the books and actually goes on about three hours longer then it should have. Did you know that Lancelot was extremely ugly? This is one of the reasons he became such a great Knight. It is such a big part of his character I can't believe so many movies chose to make him some stupid Handsome Hunk. He is a lot more complicated as an Ugly Man. You are introduced to the tragic character Elaine, who starts out as a trickster, but who you end up feeling strongly sorry for. Guinvere turns out to be one horny queen.

    4. The Candle in The Wind (1958) Does Might Mean Right is the common theme in all these books. It is especially in this one and the book has several long speeches. I myself as a child never understood why John Wayne won ever fight he was in. Until True Grit, John Wayne strongly believed he should never be killed in a movie. Heroes don't die and never lose fights. King Arthur's mother dies at the age of 70, in bed with a young man she seduced. In the original "Once and Future King" this was the last book, as it should have stayed.

    5.The Book of Merlyn (1977) This was published after T.H. White's death. He wanted it in the original (Once and Future King), but the editor would not allow it. That was one smart editor. This book brought the whole series down from Five stars to Four. This book has no plot and is 97% anti-war speeches. There is a part where the King is turned into a ant and then into a goose. Those parts and the end which explains what finally happens to everybody are the only good parts to the book. This is mostly a debate where White argues both sides. I also am aniti-war, but no explanation is given about what to do about people like Hitler. White seems to say let him keep murdering Jews.

    All in all this is very well written, is very entertaining and if you are a fan of the Legend of Arthur, then it is a must read.

    The narrator is excellent.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    "Fantastic"

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    AS a kid, the first thing I looked forward to after Christmas was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was always aired in Feb., which was sweeps month. I did not know that, I just knew it was sometime after Christmas. It was a great musical and this is a great book. They differ some and are the same a lot. The musical gave the Wicked Witch of the West a huge part that she did not have in the book. It was interesting to see the differences and easy to see why certain changes were made. The book is more violent, with some head chopping going on, but not enough to make the whole book not worth reading. It was published in 1900 and was the best selling children's book for two years.

    Baum has an excellent imagination and I loved the ceramic people, which was not in the movie. There are lessons on courage, intelligence, tenderness, confidence and ambition, which children and adults of today can learn much.

    Hathaway has taken a real beating by some reviewers. I did not always agree with her interpretations of the characters, (Valley girls did not exist when this was written) but I thought she brought life to the book. She kept it interesting. I much prefer a narrator that spices up the reading, as a reader who just mouths the words. Baum himself changed the book and characters in order to get it on Broadway. If he was alive today, I do not believe he would have a problem with his story being updated.

    I also liked the book Wicked, which gives you the witches side of the story.

  • James and the Giant Peach

    "James will figure it out."

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    RAINBOW PAINT DRIES VERY QUICK AND VERY HARD
    Dahl has a wonderful imagination. Children will love this book and Adults will like it. I enjoyed it and was always interested in what was going to happen next. James and his giant insect friends and his giant peach manage to get into several fixes, but James always comes up with the type of solution that only a ten year old would dream up. I would recommend this for seven and up, but would also suggest that you get an illustrated copy to read along with listening, it should enhance the experience. I imagine nook has a copy.

    How do you put your arms around an Earthworm's shoulders?
    Four people die in this book. James becomes an orphan when his parents are eaten by a Rhino. We never meet his parents and it is told as something that happened in the past. It is not described in detail or anything, just used to make James a orphan, so we can get to the evil aunts. The aunts are squashed by the Peach. I really did not feel this was necessary to the story, but it was also not really spelled out and I believe most kids may not realize that they were killed. Older kids will figure it out and I thought you should be warned. All in all it is a book that will stir your child's imagination.

  • Under the Sunset

    "1881"

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    The descriptive language in this is gorgeous. Stoker really sets the scene. The subject matter reminded me of Anne Rice. I could only give it three stars, as it just did not seem like much of a story. It was written in 1881 and that may have been the fad back then, but today I want an actual story where things happen.

melrailey

melrailey Georgia, United States 03-24-08 Member Since 2007

Mel

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  • "Delightful"

    3 of 3 helpful votes

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was funny and entertaining. It was also nice to see a strong, girl heroine.

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    Nim's Island

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Wendy Orr
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
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    Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea, shared by only her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica, and a satellite dish for her e-mail. No one else in the world lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn't swap places with anyone.

    melrailey says: "Delightful"

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    Deborah Gunnlaugsson says: "Over the top!"
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    Arie says: "A lot of fun"
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    Far from the owls of Ga’Hoole, a war is brewing. A bear cub has been snatched by a wolf - an unthinkable betrayal of the peace that has long existed between the wolves and grizzly bears of the Beyond. The bears are massing, roaring for revenge. The wolves claim to be innocent, but they must either fight back or face total annihilation. For Faolan, a young wolf raised by a grizzly bear mother, the threat of war starts a terrible race. Somewhere in the honorable wolf clans hides a traitor, and Faolan must stop him and rescue the lost bear cub before it’s too late.

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    It's scrap day on the ranch, and Hank is looking forward to a delicious feast of juicy, fatty bacon scraps. But just as Little Alfred is doling out the goods, two very unusual-looking creatures fly overhead, and what was promising to be a glorious day takes a dramatic turn for the worse. Suddenly the scraps have vanished, and the Head of Ranch Security finds himself dealing with an invasion by a couple of ancient dinosaur birds! Can Hank get to the bottom of this latest mystery...before it's too late?

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    Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

    melrailey says: "Terrific Fun!"
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    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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    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.

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    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!"
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    Deborah Gunnlaugsson says: "Over the top!"
  •  
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    Craig says: "Percy's not just for kids"
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    JT says: "Anne Hathaway Shines Throughout This Audio Edition"
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    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"
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    Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch.

    Caitlin says: "Great audiobook!"
  • Journey to Rainbow Island

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Christie Hsiao
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Burnet
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    Yu-ning thinks her perfect life on Rainbow Island will never end -- until a nasty dragon called the Obsidigon returns from beyond the grave. Now her beloved island is in flames, her best friend has been kidnapped, and the island's Sacred Crystals have been stolen. To make matters worse, she must venture into the dark corners of the world to uncover secrets best ignored, find a weapon thought long destroyed, and recapture seven sacred stones -- without being burned to a crisp by a very angry dragon.

  • Once Upon a Midnight Eerie: The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Gordon McAlpine
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
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    In The Tell-Tale Start, Edgar and Allan Poe (great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the legendary Edgar Allan Poe) managed to outwit the nefarious Professor P. Pangborn Perry, who was (and is) determined to kill just one of them, in order to prove a mad scientific theory. Now the boys are in New Orleans, about to play the young Poe in a feature film. But the role may cost them their lives, because now someone else wants them dead. But who? And can the twins - with the help of their co-stars, Em and Milly Dickinson, their ghostly forebear, and a pair of real ghosts - manage to outwit them?

  • Bone Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Annette Drake
    • Narrated By Darryl Hughes Kurylo
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    Eleven-year-old Josey Miller knows two things: it's her fault Mama left, and she will do anything to coax her back. When Mrs. Casey, the new music teacher, starts a band at Bennett Springs Middle School, Josey sees it as her chance to finally belong to something and convince Mama to visit for her concerts. The only problem: there's no money for a clarinet, what with Dad laid off and fighting to keep their farm. But things start looking up when Grandpa Joe gives Josey an old trombone to play, and Mr. McInerny starts boarding his high-dollar Arabian stallion with Dad.

  • The Doll Maker: A Weirdville Book

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Majanka Verstraete
    • Narrated By Miriam Blum
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    Derek’s little sister wants one of those creepy-looking dolls staring at him from the strange new doll shop in town, and what his sister wants, she gets. Now they’re stuck with a doll that looks so human, it gives Derek the creeps. When Derek tells his friends, Martin and Jamie, about the new shop with creepy human-like dolls, they want to see for themselves. That has “bad idea” written all over it, but he takes his friends there anyway.

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  • Hugo's Rainy Day

    • UNABRIDGED (7 mins)
    • By Clifton D. Pugh
    • Narrated By Rusty Bowers
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    This story begins as a boy named Hugo, 9 years of age looks forward to a well deserved weekend with his friends, after what seemed to be a long weekday of school. When the weekend had arrived it's a wash out. While Hugo's parents Hazel and Clifford are out running errands, Hugo is given tasks that he must accomplish during this dreaded rainy day.

  • A World Without Princes: The School for Good and Evil, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Soman Chainani
    • Narrated By Polly Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    In the epic sequel to the New York Times best-selling novel The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected. When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed. Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered.

  • The Hardest Hit: Sam the Hockey Player

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Frank Scalise
    • Narrated By Darren Meekin
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    Eleven-year-old Sam Parker is a hockey player entering the first year in which body checking is allowed. His natural fear of getting hit is temporarily overshadowed by finding out his parents are getting divorced. Determined to keep them together by being a hockey superstar, Sam instead suffers a bone-crunching check from the school bully in his first game of the season. The resulting pain and fear brings out the worst in Sam as one difficulty after another piles on.

  • Welcome to Dog Beach: The Seagate Summers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Lisa Greenwald
    • Narrated By Kate Reinders
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    Eleven-year-old Remy loves Seagate, the island where her grandmother had a house and where her family spends every summer vacation. But this year’s different. Remy misses her dog, Danish, who recently passed away. The usual Seagate traditions don’t feel the same - and neither does her relationship with her two best friends, Micayla and Bennett. Micayla’s family is moving to Seagate year-round, and she’s spending more time with the year-round kids.

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  • Mouse's Secret Club, Book #3: Spotted!

    • UNABRIDGED (41 mins)
    • By PJ Ryan
    • Narrated By Gwendolyn Druyor
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    Mouse is rarely seen without one of his beloved pet mice. He is never far from his mystery solving best friend, Rebekah, and now he has started his very own secret club. Join him, Rebekah and 3 other classmates as they set out to have a little fun creating practical jokes and magic tricks while hopefully staying out of trouble in the process.

  • Seaturtles: Kid's Book About Sea Turtles, Sea Turtles Species, Seaturtle Pictures & Curious, Intriguing & Amazingly Funny Seaturtle Facts For Kids

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 38 mins)
    • By Kate Cruise
    • Narrated By Bob Hennessy
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    Does your child love cute sea turtles? This audiobook will take your child through a journey of fun facts, amazing discoveries, curious and intriguing stories about sea turtles, and hilarious pictures about sea turtles.

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Frank Cottrell Boyce
    • Narrated By David Tennant
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    When the Tooting family finds an old engine and fits it to their camper van, they have no idea what kind of adventure lies ahead. The engine used to belong to an extraordinary car, and it wants its bodywork back! But as the Tootings hurtle across the world rebuilding the original Chitty, a sinister baddie is on their trail - one who will stop at nothing to get the magnificent car for himself.