Love them? Hate them? Take them or leave them? How do you feel about sound effects in audiobooks?
Alternate suggestions: Single narrator vs. multiple narrators vs. full cast, audio dramatizations, etc.
Sound effects: Ick ick ick … I’m racking my brains to come up with a book where they didn’t sound completely cheesy. Wait! They are OK for picture book read-alouds, since a creaky door, a bawking chicken or the ticktock of a clock would be something I would do were I reading aloud. If I’m reading a “chapter book” (kids or adults), I’m not making those sound effects in my head and I don’t need them “vocalized” (as it were) when I’m listening to someone read to me.
Music, on the other hand, can add a great deal to an audiobook, as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the reading, or repeat itself ad nauseum.
Full cast narrations: When these are well thought out and properly edited (none of the “s/he saids”), a full-cast audio can be terrific. Here are links (A and B) to two I’ve enjoyed. Be wary of the not-so-great narrators lurking in the small parts though … they can bring down a production with a thud.
Multiple narrators: When a book calls for this – two or more first-person narratives, a narrative that alternates between two perspectives – bring on the dual narrators. Here are links to some (A and B) I think are good. Here’s a link to one that desperately needed two readers. Hearing more than one voice read a story that has more than one voice is one of the things that make audiobooks special.
Dramatizations: I’ve only listened to one and I hated it. Cheesy sound effects and expositional dialogue. Yuck.