Friday, May 18, 2007

Narrator versatility

OK, I've said my piece about Jennifer Ikeda ... I wonder if she would be successful if she stretched her range a little bit and read something beside realistic teen girl fiction? I say this because I just finished listening to the narrator of a favorite title of mine (King Dork ... yea! I've mentioned this twice today) read something completely different.

Lincoln Hoppe (hop-puh) reads Richard Peck's On the Wings of Heroes -- portraying a much younger, waaay less sophisticated boy. Actually, I think he does better as a snarky, modern teenager, but his portrayal of young Davy Bowman -- first person narrator of this story of the small-town homefront during World War II -- is completely acceptable. I think the book is too young for a YALSA list, but I was kind of charmed by the story.

Richard Peck seems to have found his niche in nostalgia -- and if he seems to repeat himself (a Grandma Dowdell-type makes an appearance in this story) -- well that's OK. What I admired most about this novel was its utter old-fashionedness. Peck doesn't pander -- he writes about a time and place utterly foreign to most elementary school students, and he leaves it up to them to figure out what he's talking about. It's kind of refreshing.

Other versatile narrators: Jim Dale (natch), Gerard Doyle, Katherine Kellgren, John Lee, Robert Ramirez, Jeff Woodman.