Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Comparison listening

Just a final word on Escape from Castle Cant. I'm giving this an official no, not because it's too young for our audience (which I think it is ... but I can also name a 6th or 7th grader or two who would enjoy it), but because it was narrated in an ordinary way. This story has lots of those quirky secondary characters that a skilled narrator can make into an extraordinary audiobook (did I mention the great Jim Dale in this posting, yet?), but this narrator -- Kerin McCue (a male voice) -- just doesn't have the great Mr. Dale's skills (did I mention the pigeon voicing in one of the Peter Pan prequels?). (I'm sure I'm not supposed to be comparing one audiobook to another, each must stand on its own merits.)

So, McCue creates the secondary characters with his voice, but they are without subtlety and dimension. Each one becomes the characteristic of the voice and this makes for somewhat dull listening. In addition, I thought he narrated in an exaggerated style of childlike innocence, so that he sounded pretty fake most of the time. Now, I think the Castle Cant books are his first foray into narration, so I'm hoping he'll get better with experience.

I just checked this book in our catalog and one of its subject headings is Identity (philosophical concept -- Juvenile fiction). When you click on the link to see what other books have this SH there's King Dork, The Warrior Heir, The Gospel According to Larry and the second book in the Percy Jackson series. Could these have less in common with Castle Cant? Hmmm....

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