animals, audio book, nature

Sounds of the Night


Author: Brent A. Ford
Publisher: nVizn Ideas
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 9781947348745
Pages: 40
Price: $11.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Nighttime animal sounds make a summer symphony that’s a joy to hear. But what are the animals that make them? Curious kids can find out by listening to Sounds of the Night.

This unique interactive book uses QR codes for kids to listen to various sounds of the night. Its opening track is a long segment of night sounds that includes all the animals presented in the book. Then each animal is featured separately in sound, with a prompt for kids to try to identify it. Once we know who it is, the original comprehensive track is played so kids can try to find it among all the others. Animals featured include various species of bugs, birds, frogs, and toads.

As a nature lover, I found this process fascinating, and I had fun trying to guess the animals as I listened to their sounds. Kids will enjoy listening to this interactive book, and will apply what they’ve learned as they spend time outdoors at night. I highly recommend Sounds of the Night.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

audio book, fiction

The Darling Buds of May: The Larkin Novels Volume 1 (Naxos Audiobooks)

The Darling Buds of May
Author: H.E. Bates
Read by: Philip Franks
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-84379-998-6
Total time: 4 CDs / 4:21:42

Buy it at Amazon

Cedric Charlton arrives on the Larkin doorstep, determined to get Pop to complete his tax form. But the crafty junk dealer has other ideas. Distracting him with food, alcohol, and his beautiful daughter, Mariette, Pop tries to keep him from his mission.

Charlton wants to keep his focus, but finds he enjoys Mariette’s company too much to consider leaving any time soon. And the joys of the country become dearer and dearer to his heart. As his visit is extended, he experiences his first strawberry season, as well as a horse riding competition, and learns how to eat country-style. Will he choose to go back to his tax office, or will he stay with the Larkins for a while and see what country living has to offer him?

The Darling Buds of May is read by Philip Franks, who does a wonderful job with these voices. While listening, one can easily picture each of the unique characters, as well as the scenery around them. The story is told from multiple perspectives, and it reads more like a play than a novel, with only the props missing. This light-hearted and humorous story is best enjoyed while relaxing on a summer day. I really enjoyed this recording and hope Naxos Audiobooks plans to do more in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

audio book, mystery

The Moonstone

The Moonstone
Author: Wilkie Collins
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Genre: Mystery / Audiobook
ISBN: 978-184-379-797-5
Running time: 22:27:34 (17 CDs)
Price: $98.98

Naxos Audio
Buy it at Amazon

Rachel Verinder inherits the Moonstone – a beautiful yellow diamond – on her eighteenth birthday. But before she can begin to enjoy it, it disappears. Did the three Indians hovering about the property have anything to do with it? Did the servants take it? Or was it one of the guests at the birthday party?

Sergeant Cuff is brought in from Scotland Yard to investigate, but the mystery remains. Finally, the people associated with the disappearance are asked to write a summary of the events as they saw them, in the hope that something will come of their collective remembrance. Their stories are what make up the text of this narrative.

While The Moonstone is considered the first English detective story, there is so much more to this tale than solving the crime. The narrators share their own opinions and thoughts on the theft, as well as their personal philosophies of life. This audio version is more like listening to them sharing their story over a cup of tea, and the cast has done a magnificent job of bringing the novel to life. This is no stuffy old classic, and I laughed out loud on several occasions at the humorous commentary. I highly recommend this audio book for all who love a great story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

audio book, romance

Sylvester (Naxos Audio)

Sylvester
Author: Georgette Heyer
Read by: Nicholas Rowe
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-184-379-757-9
Length: 9 CDs (10:59:09)
Price: $59.95

Naxos AudioBooks website
Buy it at Amazon

Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has decided it’s time to marry. After consulting with his godmother, Lady Ingham, he reluctantly agrees to meet her granddaughter, Phoebe Marlow, to determine if she might be a suitable match. But Phoebe is horrified when she learns of his intentions, since she intensely dislikes him, and has cast him as the villain in her soon to be published novel.

When Sylvester and Phoebe suddenly find themselves stranded in a small country inn for a few days, they get to know each other better and question their initial impressions. But as circumstances unravel around them, their relationship goes from bad to worse. Is it possible that they both could be so wrong about the other?

Listening to Nicholas Rowe’s rendition of Sylvester is an absolute delight. Since the text is heavy on dialog, it reads more like a play than a book, and it is easy to immerse oneself fully in the story. Many scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, and the characters are well-developed and even comical in their actions. I absolutely adored Sylvester, and Phoebe is a spunky girl with a good heart. Anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance will love this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

audio book, children

Jimi & His Friend Joe

Jimi & Joe Cover

Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Music Audio Stories

Jimi the cat lives on a farm. Although he gets along well with the farm animals, the Collie dogs are bullies, and he tries to avoid them. So when a new Collie named Joe shows up, Jimi isn’t pleased. But Joe wants to be friends with Jimi, and that makes them both happy.

One night Jimi and Joe notice the barn is on fire. The other Collies are sleeping inside, and Jimi and Joe need to act quickly. Working together with all the other animals, they rescue the Collies, who learn that everyone can be friends – even cats and dogs.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” These unique audio stories use music as an essential part of the story, as the tension rises and falls.

Jimi & His Friend Joe is a sweet tale of friendship, reminding kids to look past their differences to find the best in each other. With the touch of drama created through the music, it’s an enjoyable story that kids will listen to over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

audio book, children

Johnny No Cash

Johnny No Cash

Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Music Audio Stories

Johnny the hamster has just heard from Robin that Cowboy Dan has a terrible cold. Johnny has always longed for adventure, so he sets out immediately to cheer up his friend. But he has no cash on him, and will have to figure out how to get there on his own.

The musical accompaniment to Johnny No Cash becomes a part of the story, as the dramatic melody surrounds the narrative. As Johnny navigates the journey, he runs into helpful and unsavory characters, but he’s determined to get to Cowboy Dan.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” Johnny No Cash is a humorous adventure tale that kids will enjoy hearing over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

audio book, children

Chris the Caterpillar

Chris the Caterpillar

Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Music Audio Stories

Chris, the caterpillar, has always wanted to be a butterfly. One day a fairy visits him, and he tells her his wish. The fairy calls on her friends, the flowers, to offer their color, and with a wave of her wand, Chris becomes a butterfly.

The musical accompaniment to Chris the Caterpillar becomes a part of the story, as the dramatic melody surrounds the narrative. Like Chris, children will come to believe in magic when he is transformed.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” Chris the Caterpillar is a sweet story that kids will enjoy hearing over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger