70 Booklist March 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
cial Conduct, following up on a complaint
from a disbarred lawyer who claims a corrupt
judge is skimming money from an Indian
casino. After Lacy’s partner is intentionally
killed in an automobile accident, things
start heating up, with murder, racketeering, bribery, and illegal syndicates coming
to the forefront. Campbell reads Lacy (who
has the most dialogue) in a slightly singsong,
sprightly fashion that seems reflective of the
compassionate investigator. It is often difficult for readers to portray members of the
opposite sex in a realistic fashion, but Campbell does a decent job, with slightly lowered
tones for the male cast members, who sound
somewhat similar; this isn’t a problem, as the
text easily identifies the speakers. Campbell
keeps the pace moving along in a story that
doesn’t hold a lot of surprises but is nevertheless a pleasant listen, particularly for
Grisham fans. —Sue-Ellen Beauregard
Amber Brown Is on the Move.
By Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy.
Read by Dana Lubotsky Bokor.
2016. 2.5hr. Live Oak, CD, $28.95 (9781430123316).
Amber Brown’s family is moving from
the only home she’s known, and Amber is
overwhelmed as she struggles to show her intelligence on standardized tests and to share
her father with his new girlfriend. Amber
is often told she lacks focus, and her story
meanders from one worry to another, with
Bokor’s narration seamlessly following her
stream of consciousness. But things look
better as Amber discovers the class ballroom-dancing project is not nearly as awful as
anticipated. Well-chosen music underscores
her dance lessons, from tango to swing.
Emotions are perfectly pitched as Amber
worries over disappointing her parents and
laughs as she observes adults’ amusing behavior. The perceptive, plucky voicing of
Amber is a delight. Listeners who enjoyed
Annie Barrows’ Ivy and Bean series or Sara
Pennypacker’s Clementine series will also
love Amber Brown. —Amanda Blau
By Diane Zahler. Read by Tavia
Gilbert and others.
2016. 8hr. Live Oak, CD, $58.95 (9781430125983).
This full-cast production is truly the best
way to enjoy Zahler’s latest magical adventure. Gilbert as Bee, our
narrator, leads with self-assurance and spirit. Bee’s
theft of a bun from Master
Bout’s bakery results in an
Master Bout’s deep, gentle
voice coaxes Bee out of
her shell to reveal hidden
magical talents. Bee’s emotive baking talent
Whether you enjoy fantasy, historical, or realistic fiction, you’ll find a great listen among these stars reviewed in
Booklist from March 15, 2016, through March 1, 2017.
The Best Man. By Richard Peck. Read by Michael Crouch.
2016. 4.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $30 (9780735288881).
Weddings bookend Archer’s life from first to sixth grade, as
he deals with bullies, finds role models, and learns about himself and others. Crouch’s sensitive portrayal depicts
Archer’s growing maturity with realism and wit.
Full of Beans. By Jennifer L. Holm. Read by Kirby
Heyborne. 2016. 3.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $27
(9780735207561). Gr. 3–6.
Ten-year-old Beans Curry will do just about any job
to help his impoverished family, and Heyborne’s memorable performance makes this tale
of the Depression both engaging and informative.
Gertie’s Leap to Greatness. By Kate Beasley. Read by Tara Sands. 2016. 4.5hr. Listening
Library, CD, $30 (9781101915806). Gr. 5–8.
Sands gleefully embodies feisty Gertie’s outsize personality in this amusing depiction of
a girl determined to be the best fifth-grader in the universe.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon. By Kelly Barnhill. Read by Christina Moore. 2016. 9.5hr.
Recorded Books, CD, $87.75 (9781501935572). Gr. 5–8.
In her spellbinding reading, Moore re-creates a fairy-tale world where evil thrives—until
good witch Xan accidentally “enmagicks” baby Luna. Sit back and enjoy the kaleidoscopic
range of fantastic characters and pitch-perfect voices.
Grayling’s Song. By Karen Cushman. Read by Katherine Kellgren. 2016. 5hr. Recorded
Books, CD, $46.75 (9781501916922). Gr. 5–8.
Kellgren’s splendid narration and lovely singing enhance Cushman’s magical tale of
Grayling, a wise woman’s timid daughter, who must embark on a quest.
The Inquisitor’s Tale; or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. By Adam
Gidwitz. Read by Adam Gidwitz and others. 2016. 10.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $40
(9780735287389). Gr. 5–8.
Gidwitz expertly guides listeners in this sweeping adventure featuring extraordinary
children at odds with the king in medieval France. Additional narrators offer authentic
Raymie Nightingale. By Kate DiCamillo. Read by Jenna Lamia. 2016. 4.5hr. Listening
Library, CD, $30 (9781101917435). Gr. 4–7.
In this delightful coming-of-age novel, Lamia deftly channels Raymie, who decides her
father will return to the family if she becomes Little Miss Central Florida Tire, 1975.
When the Sea Turned to Silver. By Grace Lin. Read by Kim Mai Guest. 2016. 7.5hr.
Hachette, CD, $24 (9781478912538). Gr. 3–5.
Guest’s haunting voice—soft, low, and shimmery—underscores the magical power of
this tale, which combines a young girl’s quest and Chinese folktales.
The Wild Robot. By Peter Brown. Read by Kate Atwater. 2016. 4hr. Hachette, CD, $25
(9781478938354). Gr. 3–6.
Robot Roz survives a shipwreck and washes up on an island where she learns to survive amid a quirky bunch of animals. Atwater voices both robot and animals with humor
Wolf Hollow. By Lauren Wolk. Read by Emily Rankin. 2016. 7hr. Listening Library, CD,
$40 (9780451485670). Gr. 5–8.
Rankin skillfully lures listeners back to 1943 Pennsylvania in this evocative coming-of-age story, as 12-year-old Annabelle learns about injustice, honesty, and courage.
TOP 10 MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION ON AUDIO