Series – The Pain and the Great One

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Another funny series about sibling and family dynamics written by the beloved Judy Blume. If you adore Peter and Fudge, you’ll like this too.

The Pain is six-year old Jake, and the Great One is his eight-year old sister, Abigail. My kid loves these two spunky siblings. They don’t always see eye to eye (what real siblings do?), but they know they can always count on each other.

And that’s what family is for, right?

There are four fun books in the series, narrated by Kathleen McInerney:

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Podcast – Barefoot Books

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I’ll preface this post by stating I am not a Barefoot Books ambassador, and have no affiliation with the company. I’m only ever in search of great audio content for my kids!

I first stumbled upon a CD collection called Storytime: First Tales for Sharing at my local library. It was narrated by actor Jim Broadbent and had some cute, classic stories that my then four-year old enjoyed.

When I started looking for more Barefoot titles online, I discovered their lovely little podcast. Just cue the jaunty intro – my daughter M loves it!

I’m actually very late to the game, as this podcast was produced from 2010 to 2013, and no new episodes are being made. But you can still enjoy over a hundred classic folk and fairy tales for free!

Podcast – Disney Story Central

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If your kids are not into Disney, just skip this post.

If they are (like mine, despite my efforts in trying to shift them away from commercialism), by all means, check out this free podcast.

These short episodes basically re-tell the story of the more recent Disney movies, but without the movie. My daughters’ favourites, like Frozen and Moana, are included. Except now I don’t have to turn on a screen. I’m going to call that a win.

Series – The Faraway Tree

ft2Sometimes I wonder what really good children’s books did I miss out on when I was a kid? My parents are immigrants, and English was our second language, so I was pretty much left to my own devices when it came to choosing reading material.

I luckily stumbled onto some wonderful books (like these ones and these ones), that I still love, but sadly, I completely missed British author Enid Blyton. Until now.

The Faraway Tree collection is a lovely series about siblings who discover different magical lands by way of an enchanted forest.

You know you can’t go wrong when the audiobooks are narrated by Kate Winslet!

Book – Kenny and the Dragon

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I had not previously read this novel by Tony DiTerlizzi, about a bookish young rabbit named Kenny and his new friend, a reluctant dragon named Grahame (in case it’s not obvious, it’s a riff off the classic The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame). The story is pretty cute, and my fantasy-loving kid enjoyed it.

But seeing that it was narrated by Scottish actor Alan Cumming is what sealed the deal for me. I distinctly remember him as the wonderful narrator of the 1994 movie version of Black Beauty. So we were definitely going to listen to this story next! We were not disappointed by his fabulous performance.

If you enjoyed My Father’s Dragon, this would be a great follow-up.

Series – Mary Poppins

  
  

Last weekend, it was raining, the kids were sick, and we all just stayed home. For a treat (and a break for me), I put on one of my favourite childhood movies, Disney’s Mary Poppins, and did they ever love it!

It dawned on me that the movie was based on a series of six books by P. L. Travers, and so of course I had to seek out the audiobooks. We’ve been listening to just the first book, narrated by Sophie Thompson, and it’s really different from the movie! First off, Jane and Michael have twin siblings, who were obviously cut from the film. And they have all sorts of different magical adventures with the titular nanny.

While they are missing the fun songs and Julie Andrews, the books are terrific in their own whimsical way, and if I could have a do-over, I would recommending checking out the books before the movie. (This is usually the case with movie adaptations!)