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!
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.
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:
Nim is a little girl who leads an extraordinary life on a remote desert island with her scientist father and animal friends. Her story is about survival, adventure, and independence.
My daughter really enjoyed Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. I wouldn’t say the narration by Kate Reading blew me away, but I love any and all stories with strong female leads!
Sometimes 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!
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.
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!)