I listened to this interview on a whim. I generally ignore fiction best-sellers, and so had not even considered reading The Help. But I found the interview so intriguing that I then read the book. Incredible! It might be time to reconsider my policy of disregarding best-sellers...
I REALLY enjoyed the second book in this series
This is by far the best audio version I've heard of Winnie-the-Pooh. Peter Dennis as narrator gets the characters just right; the music is just enough to add to the delight, without distraction; and the warm tone set by the narrator is incredibly inviting. [The real-life Christopher Robin - AA Milne's son - says Peter Dennis re-creates the characters as his father intended - and as he grew up hearing them.] Public Radio ran this Blackstone Audio version as a series some years ago, and I fell in love with it then. I'm thrilled to now share it with my preschooler. Be aware that the other version offered by Audible (the "dramatized" one) doesn't have any of these characteristics - I found it quite grating, and the characterizations were all wrong. The Peter Dennis version is perfect!
I don't care for the Skippyjon series at all. The gender and racial sereotyping is atrocious, and the disrespectful way mother and son interact is more than cringe-worthy. I also don't understand who the stories are intended for. This book - Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble - makes all sorts of references that will only make sense to late elementary or middle school readers. Yet the books appear to be preschool picture books. Neither of the books offered by Audible (Mummy Trouble and In the Doghouse) have plots that make sense to my 4-year-old. Lost in Spice is a little bit better in that regard. (Be aware that any of the books are almost impossible to follow if you haven't previously seen the illustrations.) Given the stereotyping, the fake Spanish accents, and the disrespectful language and behavior, I find listening to any of the Skippyjon books quite grating. I do not recommend this series.
These are awful, but, from a preschooler’s perspective, very addictive. We purchased a couple of the Skippyjon Jones stories just to try something new, and because the ratings were so high. My 4-year-old liked them immediately. (Actually, he found In the Doghouse pretty slow and the plot very difficult to follow – but loved “Lost in Spice.”) But there are many things about these books that _I_ really dislike. The gender role stereotyping is atrocious – Skippyjon goes on adventure after adventure, while his 3 sisters spend all of their time helping mama in the kitchen. The multiple fake/made-up Spanish words (mixed in with real Spanish words) made me cringe – but worse is the stereotypical portrayal of Mexico, and Mexican culture and people. (“Frito Bandito” type stereotyping.) Skippyjon is not Mexican – but he pretends to be, spending considerable time talking in a fake Spanish accent.
All of that is certainly reason enough not to get these books. But there is something I dislike even more: the interactions between Skippyjon and his mama. The disrespectful words and tone they (and Skippyjon in particular) use in speaking to each other have no place in a story intended for preschoolers. (Skippyjon screaming at her “You’re not the boss of me!” is the least of it.) Then, Skippyjon willfully engages in one forbidden behavior after another, completely disregarding anything his mother says.
I wish I’d done a more thorough job of previewing before my son was exposed to Skippyjon Jones. I really hate these books.
The Horse Boy ranks as one of my 2 all-time favorite Audio Books (The Help being the other). What both of these books have in common is that the audio format ADDS to the experience of the book, rather than taking anything away. Anyone with any experience with Autism or any of the related developmental disorders will recognize the struggles faced by both parents and child. But there is also humor. Any fascinating cross-cultural encounters. And hope. And healing. I laughed and cried multiple times during the reading. The fact that it is the author - and father - who is the narrator makes this audiobook even better.
(I actually bought this Audiobook after already listening to it borrowed from the library. It is the first audiobook that I've liked so much that I opted to purchase my own copy AFTER listening.)
Given how much I've enjoyed (and repeatedly re-listened to) last year's gift to members, A Christmas Carol, I was anticipating another thoroughly satisfying listen. But I found this collection far from compelling, with the narration less than stellar. I actually fast-forwarded through Gift of the Magi.
Maybe serious O. Henry fans will feel differently, but I didn't particularly enjoy these stories. I gave the volume three stars because it was free. Had it been a paid purchase, I would have given it just two.
I very much enjoyed this recording. It is not really "interviews;" instead, several of the justices sit together on a panel, in front of an audience, and interact with Tim Russert and each other in response to questions and topics proposed by Mr. Russert. I found the interactions between the justices at least as interesting as their actual answers to questions.
This recording was made in 2005. I suspect it would sound very different - and much less collegial - if an attempt were made to set up a similar panel discussion with the current members of the Court.
I really enjoyed this interview. Mr. Leonard's candor was refreshing, and there were several points at which I laughed out loud. I'll listen to it again. Very enjoyable.
Be aware that only the first 15 minutes or so of this audiobook is the actual Magic School Bus story. (And it's not one of the better stories, in my opinion, only so-so.) The remainder - or as much of it as we could stand to listen to - is a long list of ocean "facts," (the first few being things like "buses can't really drive into oceans") all read by the "teacher," as though she were reading student reports. This is BORING, at best, and tedious and irritating, at worst.
All in all, very disappointing. I'm sorry I bought it.
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