Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kids' Audio Books on CD

I'm showing my age here, but I have fond memories of children's books that came with 45 rpm records (or maybe they were 33 rpm?). The record would read the story and the child could read along, and there would be a little chime indicating when it was time to turn the page. I had Disney's The Aristocats, and a Mickey Mouse version of the little tailor who brags about killing seven flies with one blow (I can still hear Mickey's voice saying that in my head!), only everyone thinks he means he killed seven giants with one blow instead of seven flies.

Nowadays, a child wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with an actual record, but children's audio books are alive and well on CDs. I was in Barnes & Noble the other day, and saw this Olivia Audio Collection for $9.99. It contains all five of the Olivia books by Ian Falconer on one CD, so I consider this quite a bargain! Featuring the voice of Dame Edna Everage, this would make a terrific stocking stuffer, and if your child doesn't already have the Olivia books, it's a great opportunity for a paired gift, with the CD in the stocking and a book or books beneath the tree.

I also saw Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss. Another bargain, this has nine unabridged classic Dr. Seuss tales on two CDs, read by Jason Alexander, David Hyde Pierce, and Michael McKean. The titles include "Hop on Pop", "Fox in Socks", "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish", and more. This one is priced at $19.99, but Amazon sells it for $13.59.

Aside from giving Mom and Dad's voice a break from reading aloud once in a while, audio books allow children to listen over and over, which in my mind really helps reading sink in. My mother says that she thought I simply had my record books memorized, but then she realized one day I had somehow absorbed how reading works because she bought me a new one and I was able to read it before listening to the record. And if reading is something your children are happy and comfortable with, their entire school experience will be so much easier, and their lives will be enriched in many ways.

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