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Audiobook Greatest Hits

We have been utilizing our local public library’s excellent audiobook collection for the boys’ in car entertainment for at least the past two years. Who needs a DVD player when these classic stories are available for them to hear and absorb?

We started with Jim Broadbent’s wonderful renditions of Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. This was an immediate and permanent favorite, especially with our oldest. Whenever we check them out they immediately go into heavy rotation. I frequently have to declare, “It’s someone else’s turn!” and return them to the library before the boys will listen to anything else. Bonus: Broadbent’s reading, and the material itself, are so funny and well-written that even the grownups don’t get sick of them right away. Good thing, too.

Other big hits have been the Mrs. Pigglewiggle books, E.B White’s triumvirate of classics (especially the versions of Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan read by the author), many of Kate DiCamillo’s fine works, and The Chronicles of Narnia. That last is available in a series of excellent readings by august British actors like Jeremy Northam, Michael York, Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Stewart. Lovely.

All of these we have listened to exclusively in the car. It’s amazing how much better little kids are at listening when they’re strapped down.

But the most recent hit has been Mary Pope Osborne’s The Magic Treehouse series, read by the author. The boys loved them so much that they actually requested that we bring the CD inside the house because they just had to know what happened next. And they actually listen quietly while it’s on!

This is a major milestone, since even though we have a stated rule that videos are to be watched only on weekends, it’s all too easy to punch up Power Rangers or whatever on the iPad netflix app while I get the toddler down for her nap or focus on paying bills or check Twitter and facebook cultivate important interpersonal relationships. If we can switch that tactic to audiobooks instead of videos, I will be one relieved momma, and the decrease in visual stimulation can only do the boys good.

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