December 1, 2016 Booklist 67 www.booklistonline.com
man on the totem pole, is sent to appease
him—except that his claims of chicanery
begin to sound all too plausible, and the
two join forces to investigate the conspiracy.
Though the humor may not be as loopy as
in the Plum books, this pair is not without
its whimsical charm. King smoothly reflects
the gamut of emotions experienced by Riley
when she’s assigned to babysit “the Knight”
but gradually grows used to his brilliance
and unpredictability. Knight’s wealth can
open doors, but his breezy assumption of
privilege, charmingly depicted tongue-in-cheek by King, beautifully complements
Riley’s tenacity. Evanovich’s fans will be captivated. — Whitney Scott
The Jealous Kind.
By James Lee Burke. Read by Will
2016. 12hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99
Patton is comfortable in Burke’s southern,
often-violent world, having read many of the
author’s previous tales. This time it’s the story
of 17-year-old Aaron Holland Broussard,
grandson of Hackberry
Holland (featured in
2005’s House of the Ris-
ing Sun, also read by
Patton). When Aaron
decides to step in be-
tween an arguing young
couple, he not only falls
in love with the girl,
Valerie Epstein, but makes an enemy of her
boyfriend, Grady, a bully with Mob connec-
tions. The story, told in first person, is filled
with lush images and poetic language despite
the hardwired plot. Beneath Aaron’s polite,
sensitive side lies a quick temper and a violent
streak. Patton shifts smoothly between the
two sides of Aaron’s personality, ratcheting
up the tension as Aaron loses control. Patton
softens his voice for Valerie and depicts Aar-
on’s anxiety-filled mother with strident tones.
Aaron’s father is distracted but thoughtful,
and Aaron’s friend Bledsoe is always wired.
Class differences are distinct in Houston, and
Patton voices each expertly. Burke’s rich prose,
voiced by Patton, depicts the sodden landscape; the underlying violence of the 1950s;
and Aaron’s attempts to protect himself and
those he loves. Listeners will be draw into the
saga and held captive by the unfolding plot.
YA: Burke’s heavily descriptive, lyrical
prose may not be to some teens’ liking,
but the story line here evokes the same
dramatic tension that is at the core of
much YA fiction. BO.
By Nathan Hill. Read by Ari
2016. 21.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $55 (9780147523280).
In the performance Olympics that are
audiobooks, narrator Fliakos deserves a
gold medal for his incredible vocal inter-
Four new offerings from the innovative publisher out to make hanging plastic bags for read-alongs a thing of the past.
From Tadpole to Frog.
By Shannon Zemlicka. Read by Emily Woo Zeller.
2016. 4min. Vox, CD, $49.95 (9780996745772). PreS–K.
As the title indicates, this photo-essay traces the development
of a frog from goo-covered egg to insect-eating hopper. Narrator Zeller reads with brisk efficiency,
pausing after the initial sentence on each
page (e.g., “The tail shrinks”), allowing it
to act as a subject heading and slightly
emphasizing bolded words (which are
defined by context but are also included
in the glossary at the end of the book).
Although there are no sound effects, very
faint music can be heard in the background, and one nice touch
is the use of a froggy “ribbit ribbit” in place of the usual page-turn
signal. A useful production for pint-size scientists or as a precursor
to a preschool’s spring nature walk. —Kristi Elle Jemtegaard
My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.).
By Peter Brown. Read by Jeff Woodman.
2016. 8min. Vox, CD, $42.95 (9780996745796).
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a student, especially
one in possession of an antic sense of humor,
will eventually find himself on the wrong end
of a teacher’s beady-eyed glare. So it is with
Bobby, flier of paper airplanes and, thus, loser
of coveted recess periods. Narrator Woodman
does everything he can with a deadpan text
whose humor relies almost exclusively on illustrations that subtly catalog the gradations
in color, toothiness, and style that mark Bobby’s reaction to his teacher when he encounters her, first in class
and then in plein air. An auditory cue in the form of a series of
distinctive chords introducing the monster, aka Ms. Kirby, not
only fills in the dead air space of the one wordless page but acts as
a handy device—modulating from dramatic to melodic and back
again—to underscore the various stages in Bobby’s relationship to
his teacher. —Kristi Elle Jemtegaard
This Is a Moose.
By Richard T. Morris and Tom Lichtenheld. Read by L. J.
2016. 10min. Vox, CD, $42.95 (9780997075601). Gr. 1–3.
Narrator Ganser nails this tale of an aspiring astronaut-moose from
frontispiece to final page. The opening line (“This is the Mighty
Moose”), delivered straight against a mixed
background of stock nature sounds and
Star Wars–style music, will alert listeners
with well-tuned ears to the fact that there’s
more afoot than meets the eye. Ganser’s
escalating squawks of “Cut, cut, CUT”—
coupled with the final revelation that the
director is actually a beret-wearing, mega-phone-toting duck—wring every ounce of humor out of the text.
From the solemn intonation of the movie’s voice-over to the dulcet
tones of the lacrosse-playing grandmother moose to a matter-of-fact
giraffe, Ganser adroitly creates uniquely humorous voices for even the
most minor of characters. And it’s not often that listeners will laugh
as hard at the glossary as they did the story. —Kristi Elle Jemtegaard
Wolfie the Bunny.
By Ame Dyckman. Read by Ken Cabot and others.
2016. 7min. Vox, CD, $42.95 (9780997075618).
This cautionary eat-or-be-eaten tale ends, fortunately if somewhat
improbably, with a hug-fest. The ensemble cast creates a nice range
of characters—from the gushy adoration of
the doting bunny-parents who find a baby
wolf on their doorstep to the menacing roar
of a bunny-hungry bear—deftly underlin-
ing the dynamics of the story line. A nicely
designed background of piano music harks
back to the days of silent films: tinkly melo-
dies for Mama and Papa as they hover over
their new adoptee, dramatic atonal chords
when toddler-bunny Dot’s increasingly distressed warnings go un-
heeded. A couple of missed opportunities for silly sound effects—the
signature whizz of the Polaroid camera ejecting a picture, the flush of
the toilet when Wolfie follows Dot into the bathroom—are a minor
disappointment. A pleasant addition to large audio collections where
new material is in constant demand. —Kristi Elle Jemtegaard
READ-ALONG WITH VOX