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Audio Book News: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Narrated by Scarlett Johansson

25 Feb

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image001 (5)Audible.co.uk has just released a fab new version of the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The new release is performed by Golden Globe nominee and Tony Award-Winning actress Scarlett Johansson who you may know for her roles in films such as Lost in Translation, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Scarlett was joined in the recording studio by her sister, actress and accomplished audiobook narrator Vanessa Johansson, who served as director of this production. Vanessa has narrated dozens of audiobooks in her own right, and brought her own experience and unique perspective on the art form to the recording process.

“It was a great pleasure to work alongside my sister, Vanessa, to read aloud the great works of Lewis Carroll,” said Scarlett.  “Having grown up loving the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and reading many books aloud with Vanessa, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share my love for Alice with an audience. I hope that this recording is enjoyed by not only those who are existing fans of the material, but also by new and curious readers, who may just be discovering Carroll’s work for the first time.”

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is such a deliciously whimsical and curious story,” added Vanessa, whose audiobook credits span a variety of categories including children’s books, history, fantasy, biography, fiction, self-development and more. “We had such a blast dialoguing during the recording process, thinking about the characters, and creating an audio world for this book. I hope the joy that we experienced together comes across to listener.”

Find out more and download your copy at: http://www.audible.co.uk/alice

Book news: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

24 Feb

I’ve heard nothing but high praise for this book; a story of love, friendship, growing up, grief and jellyfish! I’ll be reading and reviewing this book soon but I just wanted to share the beautiful cover with you and show you what you have to look forward to next month!

the thing about jellyfish

 

Suzy is 12 when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it’s not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just 5. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?

Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn’t just drown – she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy’s logical mind than a random drowning – cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death.

Suzy’s journey to acceptance is quiet – she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it’s also bursting with bittersweet humour, heart-breaking honesty, big ideas and small details.

The Thing About Jellyfish is released by Pan Macmillan on 10th March.

You can find out more about this book and author Ali Benjamin at: http://alibenjamin.com/site/

Audio book review: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

8 Feb

northern lightsSet in a parallel world very similar to our own, Northern Lights tells the compelling story of 12-year-old Lyra’s quest to rescue her friend and find her father, aided by her daemon, an armoured bear, and a witch-queen. This prize-winning tale is narrated with vigour and dynamism by the author and a full cast. Written and read by Philip Pullman.

His Dark Materials is one of those trilogies that I’ve meant to read for a very long time. With the announcement that the BBC will be making a feature series of the books, I saw a promotion for the audiobooks of the trilogy via audible.com and given my newfound love of audiobooks I decided to give Northern Lights a go.

I’m so glad I did – the audiobook version is narrated by author Phillip Pullman together with a wonderful cast of actors which makes the listening experience all the richer. Pullman has a wonderful voice and it is lovely to hear him perform his work.

For those who haven’t encountered the series. This is the story of Lyra, a young girl living at Jordan College, Oxford. The world of the novels is a parallel world based upon recognisable locations but with elements of fantasy alongside and having lived in Oxford for a while I loved Lyra’s descriptions of her home town.

In Lyra’s world every child has their very own daemon, an animal familiar who protects and comforts them. I loved Lyra’s daemon Pantalaimon (such a fantastic name) and the way that he could take on the shape of any animal that he wanted. The bond between Lyra and her familiar is wonderfully expressed and an integral part of the story which has everything a fantasy novel should have; magic, adventure, danger and wonder.

I’m sure it’s been said thousands of times before but the world that Philip Pulman has created really is magical. This book has a timeless quality to it which is no doubt why it is and continues to be so popular with readers young and old. I can’t wait to introduce my son to Lyra and Panteleimon and their adventures.

The adventure takes us from the hallowed halls of Jordan College in Oxford, through the crowded streets of London to the waterways of East Anglia and the snowy wilds of the far north, with the beautiful Northern lights of the title; this is a book that will sweep you up and away but it’s also a book with a strong underlying plot of politics, religion, war and mystery that gives it a rich complexity.

Lyra’s uncle, the formidable Lord Asriel is investigating the possibility that other worlds exist in parallel to ours.  Lyra is a slightly wild, opinionated little girl but clever and soon finds herself embroiled in a quest to save her uncle and her best friend. There are numerous twists, shocks and unexpected events in Northern Lights;  from characters who aren’t what they initially seem to mysterious objects and encounters with all manner of magical beasts.

I loved Lyra and her courage against all odds but my favourite character in this book was John Faa – a wise and worldly Gyptian who helps Lyra in her quest. There were parts of the story that were horrifying, parts upsetting and parts of joy and wonder – the audiobook magnifies these emotions and with the addition of music and sound effects, I found myself fully immersed in Lyras world. I’m now looking forward to listening to book to of the trilogy; The Subtle Knife.

5/5

Northern Lights and the rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy are available now from www.audible.com

Find out more about Philip Pullman and his writing at: http://www.philip-pullman.com/

 

 

Audio Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

22 Jan

harry potter“Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H’.”

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

My son Max is back today with his thoughts on the Audio book of Harry Potter and the Philisopher’s Stone.

Max says:

“I had already read the book on my own and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t listened to an audio book before and I really liked it. It was nice that me and Mum could listen together at bedtime.

The audio book is about 8 hours long. It has 18 chapters and is narrated by Stephen Fry. He was a very good narrator. I liked it when he made up voices for the different characters. I liked his impression of Ron Weasley best because it made me laugh.

I liked the book because it was full of adventure and exciting, I liked learning the language of the wizards, especially the spells, I’ve tried ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ spell on my brother Sam, but I haven’t made it work yet!

My favourite part of the book was towards the end of the story, I found out some important bits of information about the characters, it was really exciting and I couldnt wait to find out how the story ended.

As much as I enjoyed reading this Harry Potter book, I enjoyed listening to the audio book more, I would like an illustrated version though!

5/5

Mum’s verdict:

The audio book was a big hit with Max – he’s still at the age where he likes to be read to, especially when he’s tired so it was lovely to snuggle up and listen to this together. Stephen Fry’s narration is spot on – he has a wonderful story-telling voice and I could happily listen to him all day. We’ll definitely be investing in more audio books now and we’re looking forward to listening to the next book in the Harry Potter series.

We’d like to thank Audible UK for providing a review copy of this book.

All seven of the Harry Potter books are now available for instant download via Audible. Find out more at: http://www.audible.co.uk/

 

Book review: The Kingdom and the Cave by Joan Aiken, Illustrated by Peter Bailey

4 Jan

I’m excited to introduce a new co-reviewer to One More Page today! Please give a very warm welcome to my son Max. Max is seven and an avid reader just like me. We’ve decided to start sharing our joint thoughts on some of the books that we read together. The first is the magical adventure, The Kingdom and the Cave which was first published in 1960 but re-released in the beautiful new illustrated version shown here in November 2015.

kingdom and the caveThe Under People. They live in a huge Cave. They are thought to be boring upwards. Giant worms and flying ants. Underground magic.’

Mickle, the palace cat, knows the kingdom is in danger. He can feel it in his whiskers and he has found a mysterious note in the royal library… (Yes, of course he can read, and speak – if he chooses to!) Mickle can’t trust the King and Queen with his mission, so he and Prince Michael, with the help of their animal friends (and quite a bit of magic!), set out on a perilous quest to find the sinister Under People, discover their secret power and save the Kingdom of Astalon.

In her first novel, written when she was only a teenager, Joan Aiken showcases the imagination, wit and storytelling zest that would lead to classics like Arabel’s Raven and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

Max and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story together and although I’d say its probably most suited to children older than Max to read independently, it was a lovely story to share and I’d recommend it as excellent bedtime reading. Max loves anything with Magic in it at the moment so this ticked all the right boxes and the illustrations are lovely too.

Max says:

“I liked the adventure that Prince Michael, Mickle the cat and Minerva the horse had. I liked it when Prince Michael learned to talk to the animals – that was really fun.

Children who like reading and magical books will like this. My favourite character was Mickle. He’s a cat who likes exploring and is good at keeping secrets – he didn’t tell Michael he could talk and he has a magical wishing collar that can make things appear. Minerva and Professor Nicodemus made me laugh.

There were no parts I didn’t like – I loved it all and I’m looking forward to reading it again.”

We’ll definitely be reading more of Joan Aiken’s books together in future. You can find out more about Joan and her writing at: http://www.joanaiken.com/

With thanks to publisher Virago for providing a review copy of this book.