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.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Initially, I was disappointed that Kimberley Reynolds lacks the dynamic and conversational style that is so desirable in an Audible course.
But, wait. The information packed into this set of lectures is so interesting and so valuable that I soon forgave, and actually came to like, the rather stiff delivery. This is a serious presentation of the history not only of children's literature but of the changing concept of childhood itself.
Most of us choose books for our children based on what we have enjoyed ourselves, what we think will interest the kids and advance their reading skills, and on the pure entertainment value of the material. This course will likely not change that, but having a more scholarly foundation about the psychological and developmental benefits of reading for young people at different stages will offer a great advantage for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and others who help children choose appropriate books.
The literature covered includes analysis of books for all ages of childhood, from infancy to young adult. When the subjects got a bit too esoteric for me (mostly in the YA lectures), I found the PDF study guide to be very helpful in deciding which lectures would interest me most. Although the analyses sometimes offer more detail than many of us ultimately want, I believe there is much general and particular information here that will be of interest and value to all parents and literature lovers.
Another benefit is the timely nature of the course. Harry Potter is discussed, as are "The Hunger Games" series. Professor Reynolds touches on new technologies like digital and interactive books and the endless merchandise tie-ins which are peddled to children on the media. There's a bit near the end about the effects of tough economic times on youngsters. This is up-to-date stuff!