Series – A Dog’s Purpose

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A Dog’s Purpose is a best-selling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, and was made into a movie earlier this year. No, I haven’t seen it. But it’s about a lovable dog who gets reincarnated as different canines over the course of several decades, and touches the hearts of many people along the way.

A couple of those “lives” have been adapted into stand-alone stories for younger readers, and those are the ones we listened to. As an avid Paw Patrol fan, my daughter especially liked the story of Ellie, the search and rescue German shepherd.

  

There is a sequel to the main book, called A Dog’s Journey, and it features another special dog named Molly. Overall, it’s a wonderful little series if you’re an animal lover!

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Series – Araminta Spookie

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Halloween is almost here, so thought I’d share this lightly spooky series by Angie Sage.

Despite the titles, these books are not actually that scary! They are moderately entertaining adventures about a precocious, rather sarcastic girl named Araminta, who happens to live in a haunted house.

There are four titles available as audiobooks, and several more books that haven’t been recorded.

 

My 5 year old really likes them, and asks for them over and over. I thought they were… okay. Narrator Katherine Kellgren definitely made listening much more enjoyable! (We also love her in other works.)

Series – Paddington

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Another sweet, funny, British classic. My daughter loved Winnie the Pooh, so it was no surprise when I introduced Paddington that she would love him too. These silly bears are always getting into trouble!

Lots of books in the series by Michael Bond:

Fabulous narrators include British actors Stephen Fry, Hugh Bonneville, and Jim Broadbent.

(I have to say, Stephen Fry’s narration is really softening me up to his version of Harry Potter. Right now I’m still in the Jim Dale narrator camp, but can be persuaded…)

Series – Little House on the Prairie

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Despite its popularity, this was not a series that I grew up with, and so I’m reading/listening to it for the first time along with my 5 year old daughter. Whenever people give audiobook recommendations, Little House in the Big Woods, the first book in the semi-autobiographical series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is always a top suggestion. So I felt like we had to try it.

There are nine books in the series. We haven’t gone through them all yet, but they are:

I can definitely see why they are so beloved. My daughter was fascinated by how Laura and her homesteading family made their own butter and cheese, hunted, and collected honey from a beehive. Laura’s life as a pioneer girl is just so interesting and beautifully described. As for the audiobook, narrator Cherry Jones‘s voice has the perfect twang, and overall it’s a wonderful production.

Why I hesitated for long to read this series was because of the overt racism toward First Nations people, especially in the subsequent books.

I needed time to commit and prepare, time to listen with my daughter and pause the story as needed, and time to have some frank discussions with her. I still wrestle with what to say, and I know it won’t be the last time we have to talk about a problematic classic, but hopefully we can still use these books for some teachable moments.

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!

Series – Rainbow Magic

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So I’m including these fantasy books by Daisy Meadows (a pseudonym for a number of different writers) for completion’s sake.

I thought this series, about two friends who help save the seven Rainbow Magic fairies (one book for each fairy), was a little saccharine, but my four year old freaking loved it! Did I mention she had a fairy phase?

And so I followed a book lover’s advice to let your child make their own book choices, no matter how annoying, in the early years so they develop a passion for more stories. Good literary taste will come later – I hope!

The audio series is made much better by narrator Kathleen McInerney, who we’ve listened to and enjoyed in other productions.

Series – Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew

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Growing up, I read my fair share of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. What’s old is new again in this updated series, this time about an 8-year old Nancy and her best friends, George and Bess.

The Clue Crew series is the latest reincarnation of the famous detective books by Carolyn Keene (actually a collective pseudonym for a number of ghostwriters). It seems geared toward a younger audience. Case in point, my five year old loves them!

Although there are about forty books in the series now, only five have so far been made into audiobooks, which are narrated by Cassandra Morris. We found a few in our library, then purchased the rest which are currently on sale on Audible (sale until November 27, 2017).