Alchemy and Meggy Swann . 4 hr, 23 min. Listening Library. 1-800-733-3000. Ages 9-14. After Meggy’s mother sends her off to London, she has to prove useful to her alchemist father. Narrator Katherine Kellgren uses voices and singing to recreate the dirty streets of medieval London. ( 2011 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
Boom! 3 hr, 46 min. Listening Library. Ages 10-14. When Jimbo and Charlie overhear their teachers speaking a strange language, they start on an adventure that leads them to a spaceship and to foiling alien plans. Julian Rhind-Tutt augments the laugh-out-loud story with his impressive mastery of the alien language.
The Call of the Wild . 3 hr, 10 min. Listening Library. Ages 10 and up. Actor Jeff Daniels tells the classic story of Buck, a dog who is stolen from his family home and forced into the harsh life of an Alaskan sled dog.
Cantilena: Night Songs from Around the World . 56 min. Yellow Tail Records. 1-206-527-3546. Ages birth – 5 years/Musical. Soothing and multilingual, these lullabies, accompanied by classical instrumentation and virtuoso vocals by Patrice O'Neill, demonstrate that people calm babies with similar rhythms throughout the world.
Chicken Little . 7 min. Weston Woods. 1-800-243-5020. Ages 3-7. This re-telling by narrator Walter Mayes of the fable of Chicken Little is humorous, snarky, and fun.
Clementine: Friend of the Week . 2 hr. Recorded Books. 1-877-732-2898. Ages 7-10. Narrator Jessica Almasy delivers both the personality and the angst of Clementine as she makes Clementine's world more tangible with her warmhearted delivery.
Crocodile Tears . (Alex Rider series). 9 hours, 45 min. Recorded Books. Ages 10-14. Simon Prebble's English accent makes each character of this action novel distinct. Alex Rider is again involved in fantastic spy escapades involving a con man who tries to feed Alex to crocodiles.
The Curious Garden . 8 min. Weston Woods. Ages 5-8. David Mansfield's music and Katherine Kellgren's narration combine to dramatize the story of a boy whose special wild garden grows and spills over into the dreary city.
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins . 20 min. Weston Woods. Ages 8-10. Jonathan Pryce's reading and Ernest Troost's music add depth and vibrance to the text of this 2002 Caldecott Honor Book.
Epossumondas Plays Possum . 15 min. Recorded Books. Ages 4-8. Cynthia Darlow gives a masterful performance when reading this funny, ever so slightly scary story of an adventurous baby possum.
Forge . 7 hr, 51 min. Brilliance Audio. 1-616-846-5256. This sequel to Chains brings to life what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in the midst of the American Revolution. Tim Cain's gravelly voice reflects the harshness of the time.
Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices. 1hr, 30 min. Live Oak Media. 1-800-788-1121. Ages 12 and up. Walter Dean Myers writes about his love of the Harlem community where he grew up. In each poem the cast members speak in the distinctive voices of people living there, offering a story, a reflection, or a memory.
If You Were a Penguin . 9 min. Live Oak Media. Ages 3-7. Antonia Bath reads this simple introduction to various types of penguins with a quiet, clear voice that allows ample time to peruse the colorful illustrations. Music and sound effects add to the experience.
Jungle Gym . 40 min. Carpet Square Records, dist. by CD Baby. Ages 4-9/Musical. Kids will delight in 12 songs about everyday events: fire drills, trick or treating, snow days, and sleepovers. Justin Roberts' tuneful lyrics inspire listeners to sing along.
The King and the Thrush: Tales of Goodness and Greed . 49 min. Eastern Coyote Recordings. CD, $12. 1-802-223-8103. Age 6 and up. Earrings made of frogs, a jackal who thinks he's a god, and a bird wearing a tiny suit show up in these traditional folk tales. Recorded before an audience, tandem storytellers Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder deliver a charming, humorous performance.
The Magician's Elephant . 2 hr, 55 min. Brilliance Audio. Ages 9-12. Juliet Stevenson creates multiple voices for this magical, mysterious story of an elephant and an orphan in the imaginary city of Baltese.
Mockingbird . 4 hr, 30 min. Recorded Books. Ages 10-14. Told in Caitlin's voice, listeners learn how she copes with her Asperger's syndrome, the loss of her brother, and learning to interact with others. Angela Jayne Rogers' narration is touching and honest in its simplicity.
The New Explorers Club . 45 min. Unsigned. 1-888-588-3407. Ages 5-8. Original music from the Flannery Brothers features lyrics about bugs, boots, pirates and parrots set to catchy tunes showcasing a variety of instruments.
One Crazy Summer. 5 hr,15 min. Recorded Books. Ages 10-14. Delphine and her two sisters travel to Oakland in the summer of 1968 to visit their estranged mother, but instead spend most of their time in a nearby Black Panther summer camp. Sisi Aisha Johnson gives Delphine an unforgettable voice and each sister emerges as a distinct, memorable character.
Ranky Tanky . 50 min. Mayhem Music, dist. by CD Baby. Ages 4-8/Musical. Seventeen new and classic songs performed by Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem will please and entertain both children and their parents.
Splat the Cat . 7 min. Weston Woods. Ages 4-7. The angst of attending the first day of school is delivered with all the humor Rob Scotton’s rich language merits, as voiced by John Keating and scored by Scotty Huff and Robert Reynolds
They Called Themselves the KKK . 4 hr. Brilliance Audio. Ages 12 and up. Dion Graham’s resonant narration explains the origin and the evolution of the Ku Klux Klan.
The True Meaning of Smekday . 10 hr, 38 min. Listening Library. Ages 9-14. Narrator Bahni Turpin brings whole new dimensions to Adam Rex’s popular novel with her distinct voices in this enthusiastic and hilarious reading. ( 2011 Odyssey Award Audiobook)
The Water Seeker . 7 hr, 3 min. Listening Library. Ages 12-14. Will Patton narrates Amos’ westward journey to the Oregon territory with great affection and subtle changes of voice.
What to Do about Alice? 15 min. Weston Woods. Ages 7-10. The life and times of Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Franklin, is charmingly told by Katherine Kellgren with much spirit and delightful sound effects.
2011 Notable Children's Recordings Committee
Karen M. Perry (Chair), RJ Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, NC
Sharon Haupt, San Luis Obispo (CA) Coastal Unified Schools
Sharon Levin, Redwood City, CA
Susan Z. Melcher, Louisville, KY
Daniel L. Meyer, Kew Gardens Hills, NY
Lynda Poling, Brewitt Neighborhood Library, Long Beach (CA) Public Library & Information System
Tracy Reid Sumler, D.C. Public Library, Washington, D.C.
Janet Sue Thompson, Chicago Public Library
We'd like to thank Sara Saxton, a member of the 2011 Notable Children's Recordings Committee from January 2010 to December 2010, who was unable to attend the Midwinter Meeting and vote on the final list.