With so many good books coming out each year, it can be easy to feel pressured to only read the latest releases – after all, there is always a new, buzzy book to read. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still read (or re-read!) the classics. My favorite way to rediscover a classic is by approaching it in a new way – on audio! Luckily, there are tons of new audiobooks coming out each year with *famous* narrators and cool productions. Here are some favorite children’s books with audios worth seeking out.
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
By Norton Juster
Narrated by Rainn Wilson
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH is the story of Milo, a little boy who is bored by everything. Then one day, a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room and, because there’s nothing else to do, he drives through it and into a world where everything seems different. This contemporary classic, first published in 1961, is a beloved and imaginative novel that is only enriched by Rainn Wilson, best known as Dwight from THE OFFICE, and his captivating narration. This book is a little odd, but in a way that children and adults can admire.
By E.B. White
Narrated by Meryl Streep with a full cast
Does Charlotte’s Web really need an introduction? This perennial favorite tells the story of Wilbur – a runt pig destined to become the famer’s Christmas dinner. In a bid to save his life, Wilbur’s best friend, a spider named Charlotte, constructs elaborate webs lauding Wilbur’s virtues. This new audiobook is nothing short of magical with a full cast of characters (including local favorite Kirby Heyborne as Wilbur) and narration by the incomparable Meryl Streep. This new version is a perfect way to rediscover this terrific, radiant, humble book.
I’ve written on this blog before about my love for ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece is an absurd one filled with nonsense and enough humor to make it enjoyable. This classic gets the Jim Dale treatment, who brings the same incredible knack for characterization and magic that he brought to the beloved HARRY POTTER audiobooks. He recounts Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole into a magical world that is unlike anything she’s ever seen. If you’ve never read ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, now is the time – and be sure to start with this book on CD.
Is there any better book than MATILDA? In fact, is there any book character better than Matilda? The incredible Kate Winslet brings them both to life alongside all the other famous characters in this Roald Dahl classic. Never has Miss Honey seemed so sweet or Miss Trunchbull felt so villainous and never has Matilda’s triumph over the terrible adults in her life felt so well-earned. Share this remarkable retelling widely.
Did you forget how much you love Ralph S. Mouse? Now is the time to remind yourself. B.D. Wong, a prolific actor, who I personally know best for his voicework as Li Shang in Disney’s 1998 MULAN, narrates this classic children’s novel about an adventurous mouse who befriends a young boy visiting the hotel where he lives. Wong brings the humorous antics of Ralph S. Mouse to life.