This summer, I’m doing a 30-day free trial of Tales2Go, a subscription audiobook service aimed at kids from K-12.

So far, so good! Countless wonderful children’s titles to choose from – it’s like being a kid in a candy store! There are definitely some that I haven’t been able to find at our local library.

I’ve been mainly using the desktop player instead of the phone app, and casting it to our smart speaker. Not sure if I will end up keeping the subscription yet as we already subscribe to Spotify and there are so many free options out there, but this one is a definite contender.


Book – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Call me Idina.

That’s my five year-old wanting to be re-named after the fabulous Idina Menzel. Obviously Elsa played a part in this, but I’ve also introduced a number of Broadway musicals to my kids, including the famous Wicked, in which Idina Menzel has the starring role of Elphaba.

But you can’t really understand Wicked without first knowing the story of Dorothy and the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.

Whether you find a version through your library, or Spotify, or Audible (with narration by Anne Hathaway), this classic tale is referenced so frequently that reading/listening to it is a must. Plus it’s pretty entertaining!

P.S. When the kids are older, I’ll be letting them listen to Rent, one of my favourite musicals and also featuring Idina Menzel. You can bet there’s an Oz reference there too (in the track, La Vie Boheme)!


Spotify – Thomas the Tank Engine

This happens to me all the time. We went away for a week during Spring Break, and three months later I still haven’t written a new post… I’m hoping to catch up now with some fresh ideas. So what’s new with us?

My five-year old is finishing kindergarten and learning to read. Very exciting, but this means she can now read the title tracks on our iPod, and she keeps choosing the same stories to listen to over and over. And so I haven’t had to introduce much new content at all. She’s pretty happy revisiting stuff she’s heard before.

What else? Spotify has totally changed how we listen to music! And stories! Just type in “story” or “audiobooks” under the search bar and you’ll find dozens of playlists. You can move your favourite tracks into your own personal playlists too. While not free, it gives you unlimited access to a ton of content, which I feel makes it worthwhile.

One that we’re enjoying now is Thomas the Tank Engine (narrated by Johnny Morris), especially my two-year old as she’s in a train phase.


Inspiration Lab

More from the library. This one’s for local readers.


So my mom kept my first audiobook set from the 1980s!

It’s a preschool boxed set called Early World of Learning. The stories are about a rabbit named Amy, a monkey named Zak, and their 26 Alphabet Pals. The set included 10 audio cassette tapes and 19 books (unfortunately we lost the Amy and Zak puppets).

I definitely remember listening to and “reading” along when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I loved this series. I couldn’t wait to share this piece of nostalgia with my own daughter. The only problem was finding a cassette player.

Cue the Inspiration Lab at the Vancouver Public Library. If you want to digitize old cassette tapes, VHS tapes, or photographs; if you want to record or create your own audiobooks/podcasts or eBooks, this is the place to do it.

I used the audio cassette tape station to convert my set into MP3 files, which I can now take with me anywhere. It did take me 6 hours as the recording took place in real time. But the results are worth it!

alphabet pals

And my daughter now loves Amy and Zak too!



Another subscription digital library that’s on my list to try is Scribd.

Scribd gives you access to eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines. Even sheet music! To be honest, I’m not sure how many kid-friendly titles there are, but I like having adult options too.

The cost is $8.99 per month, and includes access to 3 eBooks and 1 audiobook per month from their library of titles that require a credit for full access. There’s also unlimited access to magazines, documents, and other books.

Yes, of course there is a free trial too (30 days free). I can’t give a full review yet, since I haven’t had time to try it, but it looks intriguing. I will re-post once I’ve signed up.



This summer, I discovered Epic! It’s a subscription eBook library for kids that offers access to thousands of eBooks, read-to-me books, audiobooks, and videos.

The cost is $7.99 per month, but free for elementary school teachers and librarians. If you happen to be an educator, by all means, get this app! For everyone else, you can also do a one-month free trial, which I am now checking out.

My review. I think this app would be nice to keep if we didn’t already have free access to Overdrive and Tumble Books through our library. Many of the titles overlap. Yes, there are a massive number of eBooks, but my kids are not reading independently yet, and I don’t really want to read to them off a screen. I downloaded the phone app to play audiobooks off of. However, the app does not run in the background (unlike how my other music and podcast apps operate). So the story shuts off if I try to do anything else on my phone or even turn the screen off to save power. Largely because of this, I’m finding I haven’t been using my free trial time as effectively as I’d like. I have played a few of the audio stories off my PC, and that’s been fine. It’s the not-so-great phone app (for me) that’s keeping me from fully recommending it.

There is definitely no harm in signing up for a free month though, and if you don’t have another source for digital audio stories, this might be the subscription for you!



I’m sure most people have heard of Audible by now. It is the place to purchase and download audiobooks. Real audiobooks are amazing because unlike a CD or MP3, they bookmark exactly where you stop listening, and start at the same spot next time, even if you change to music or a different selection.

I did a promotional trial of Audible last year. While I loved the books that I received, I do think the regular price is a little cost-prohibitive at USD $14.95 per month, which gets you 1 credit (or 1 book choice). I’m in Canada, and our exchange rate right now is awful! If you can wait until the next Amazon Prime day in July, there are typically promotions for new members. If you can’t wait that long, you can always sign-up for a free 30-day trial, and receive two free books as a new member.








So what did I get? Feeling thrifty, I decided to go for quantity as well as quality, and found amazing value in one of my favourite children’s authors, Beverly Cleary:

  • The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection contains all 8 books, and clocks in at 19 hours. It is performed by Stockard Channing (best known as Rizzo from Grease), who is spunky and the perfect narrator for this series.
  • The Henry Huggins Audio Collection contains 6 books, and is 15 hours longs. This is performed mostly by Neil Patrick Harris, so awesome as the earnest boy-next-door.

Despite the lengths of these collections, they don’t feel too ambitious because they are broken down into individual books, and then short chapters. My older daughter loved them on first listen at age 4.

Back to Audible, I ended up purchasing three additional discounted credits, and picked up a couple more books on sale. When I tried to cancel my membership the first time, Audible offered me $20 to stay! Another nice feature is you can pause your membership for up to three months, but still see the daily member specials. There are different sales at different times of the year too.

One last thing to check monthly is the free Kindle eBook on the Whispersync for Voice page. It’s a different classic book each month. You don’t need a Kindle or even ever read the eBook, but once you have “purchased” the eBook through Amazon, you can pick up the Audible version for free (or at a huge discount). Not typically books for children, but a great way to add to your own stash.

Eventually though, I did end my membership, but walked away with a nice little collection. I tried to choose books that my library did not carry. I would seriously consider re-joining Audible in the future if the right promotion came along. And I will definitely post about any deals I see in the future!