Series – Catwings

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I was very sad to learn that Ursula K. Le Guin passed away earlier this year. Her books always fascinated and haunted me, including this series about a charming family of kittens born with wings. This was my first introduction to her rich, thoughtful writing, which I read when I was a child and never forgot about.

These short audiobooks are read by the author, who has a very grandmotherly voice. If you love cats, like my girls, you will love this.

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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)!

 

Series – The Secrets of Droon

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First a little shout out to the Kingdom of Wrenly books by Jordan Quinn. This fantasy series is not available as audiobooks but was seriously beloved by my 5 year old and by me! I highly recommend them to any beginning readers.

Which brings us to The Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbott. About a trio of plucky friends who discover a hidden world where reside sorcerers, witches, magical creatures, and more, this long-running fantasy series kicks it up a notch.

There are 34 books (plus a number of special editions) in the series but we’ve only gotten through the first 6 books so far in two fast-paced, action-packed collections, narrated by Oliver Wyman. I am so hoping for more!

 

Series – Emily Windsnap

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First she was obsessed by fairies. Now mermaids!

Emily Windsnap is just a regular girl who discovers one day she’s actually part mermaid. Of course, adventure ensues. This cute fantasy series by Liz Kessler deals with themes of family, friendship, and identity.

Only four of the seven books in the series have been made into audiobooks, but I hope there are more to come.

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 – The Chronicles of Prydain

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I have to remember that my oldest is only five. But there are so many epic books I can’t wait to introduce her to, like the Harry Potter series and The Golden Compass. And of course, this beloved award-winning series by Lloyd Alexander, set in a magical land loosely based on Welsh mythology.

The characters of Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, Gurgi, and Doli, are all my old friends. These books were my security blanket.

Needless to say, I was excited to find the audio version narrated by James Langton, which doesn’t disappoint. I also finally learned how to say their names correctly!