“And Then It's Spring,” 10 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, 1-800-243-5020, Ages 3 to 6
Ron McLarty carefully paces the narration of this gentle story of how a young boy plants seeds in late winter then waits and waits until the seeds sprout in spring.
“Bear Has a Story to Tell,” 19 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 3 to 7
Mike Birbiglia captures the character of drowsy Bear who tries to share a story before hibernating. The third track features Erin Stead answering questions about her creative process.
“Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast,” 7 hrs 5, CD, Recorded Books, 1-877-732-2898, Ages 12 and up
Beauty feels ill-suited to her nickname, but that doesn't stop the romance in this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which Charlotte Parry reads with dignity and restrained emotion.
“Better Nate than Ever,” 5 hrs 54, download, Simon & Schuster, 1-212-698-7126, Ages 11 to 14
Reader and author Tim Federle captures Nate's hope, desperation, and exasperation when he runs away to audition for “E.T.: The Musical.” (A 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
“Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake,” 26 min, book + CD, Live Oak Media, 1-800-788-1121, Ages 3 to 7
Betty Bunny hits new highs and lows as she discovers the joy of chocolate cake in this playful performance by Katherine Kellgren.
“Bink & Gollie: Two for One,” 27 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 5 to 8
With perfect timing, Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome narrate the day-long escapades of two best friends at the fair, with music and sound effects adding to the fun.
“The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred,” 28 min, book + CD, Live Oak Media, Ages 4 to 8
Effective background music blended with sound effects add to the stirring narration by Adriana Sananes in this cumulative tale sprinkled with Spanish vocabulary.
“Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Summer Vacation,” (Charlie Joe Jackson #3), 3 hrs 56, CD, Brilliance, 1-616-846-5256, Ages 8 and up
Charlie Joe Jackson's summer exploits at Camp Rituhbukkee are humorously voiced by MacLeod Andrews.
“Clementine and the Spring Trip,” 1 hr 50 min, CD, Recorded Books, Ages 6 to 9
Jessica Almasy narrates Clementine with a complexity perfectly suited to a third grader trying to understand the world around her.
“Colin Fischer,” 4 hrs 16, download, Penguin Audio, 1-212-366-2000, Ages 12 and up
Jesse Eisenberg precisely narrates high school life as seen through the eyes of Colin, a perceptive young man living with Asperger's Syndrome.
“Coretta Scott,” 15 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 7 and up
Narrator Phylicia Rashad beautifully interprets Ntozake Shange’s lyrical poem about Coretta Scott King. The inclusion of music and singing intensifies the listening experience.
“Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers,” 3 hrs 3, CD, Brilliance, Ages 12 and up
JD Jackson's pacing and emotions highlight this little known piece of history about the Triple Nickles who trained but never fought during WWII.
“Creepy Carrots!,” 17 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 4 to 8
Jasper Rabbit believes he is being followed -- by carrots. James Naughton's spooky narration is intensified with music and sound effects. (A 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
“Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,” 4 hrs 30, CD, Listening Library, 1-800-733-3000, Ages 8 to 12
With warmth, compassion and bravado, Tara Sands narrates the story of a superhero squirrel and his adored human companion.
“Frog Trouble...And Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs,” 34 min, book + CD, Workman Publishing, 1-212-254-5900, All Ages
A wide array of country greats perform Sandra Boynton's and Michael Ford's funny, touching, and creative songs.
“A Full Moon Is Rising,” 34 min, book + CD, Live Oak Media, Ages 5 to 11
The world-wide celebrations of the full moon are described and explained in this outstanding performance by multiple readers.
“I Want My Hat Back,” 18 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 3 and up
Daniel Pinkwater and others narrate this story of a bear's search for his lost hat, accompanied by perfectly-timed music and a "liar liar pants on fire" bird.
“I'm Fast!,” 13 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 3 to 6
With great bravado, Stanley Tucci performs this story of a cross-country race between a red sports car and a blue freight train.
“It's Not Fair to Me,” 34 min, music CD, Round River Records, 1-800-682-9522, Ages 5 to 10
Bill Harley and Keith Munslow’s witty lyrics and catchy music about hideous sweaters, copycats, and other childhood annoyances will have the whole family singing along.
“The Knights' Tales,” 6 hrs 5, CD, Listening Library, Ages 7 to 11
King Arthur reigns again for a new generation of listeners as Steve West deftly performs the tales in this engaging set by Gerald Morris.
“Matilda,” 5 hrs, CD, Penguin Audio, Ages 7 to 12
An exceptional girl develops extraordinary powers that she uses to triumph over nasty parents, wretched friends, and a monstrous headmistress. Dahl’s cast of vivid characters is infused with life by Kate Winslet’s dynamic performance. (A 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
“Never Forgotten,” 1 hr 6, book + CD, Recorded Books, Ages 8 and up
Lizan Mitchell keeps the listener riveted with this powerful story of an African family torn apart by slavery.
“P. S. Be Eleven,” 6 hrs 10, CD, Recorded Books, Ages 10 to 14
Sisi Aisha Johnson gives emotional depth and authenticity to each character in the continuing story of Delphine and the rest of the Gaither family.
“Paperboy,” 6 hrs 10, CD, Listening Library, Ages 12 and up
The story of an eleven-year-old boy with a stutter and the issues he faces in the summer of 1959 are thoughtfully voiced by Lincoln Hoppe in this portrayal of author Vince Vawter's childhood.
"’The President Has Been Shot!’: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” 3 hrs 57, CD, Scholastic Audio, 1-800-724-6527, Ages 12 and up
Will Patton provides a mesmerizing narration of the several days leading up to and following the assassination of President Kennedy.
“Puppy Mudge Wants to Play,” 6 min, book + CD, Live Oak Media, Ages 3 to 6
Suzanne Toren light-heartedly portrays Henry's puppy, Mudge, who wants him to abandon reading his book in favor of play.
“Show Way,” 32 min, book + CD, Weston Woods, Ages 8 and up
With love and gravitas, Jacqueline Woodson reads the spare and lyrical text that honors her family's history.
“Tortuga in Trouble,” 21 min, book + CD, Live Oak Media, Ages 4 to 8
Told through the alternating voices of Brian and Rosi Amador, this “Little Red Riding Hood” variant is peppered with Spanish words and enlivened with sound effects and music.
“When Life Gives You O.J.,” 4 hrs 47, CD, Listening Library, Ages 8 to 12
Zelly's eccentric grandpa helps her campaign for a pet dog in this endearing story read by Abigail Revasch.
“Zombie Baseball Beatdown,” 6 hrs 4, CD, Listening Library, Ages 10 to 14
Sunil Malhotra gives a superb reading in this zany tale of a looming zombie cow apocalypse.
Members of the 2014 Notable Children's Recordings Committee include:
Lynda Salem-Poling, chair, Long Beach (Calif.) Public Library
Carolyn Angus, Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, Calif.
Rebecca (Becki) Bishop, Campbell Court Elementary School, Bassett, Va.
Allie Jane Bruce, Bank Street Library, New York
Lynn Piper Carpenter, Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library
Jennifer Duffy, King County Library System, Kirkland, Wash.
Sharon Haupt, Instructional Media Center, San Luis Coastal U.S.D., San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Sharon L. Ledford, Harrison Elementary School, Lexington, Ky.
Carol Hanson Sibley, Minnesota State University, Moorhead