When I read over at What Do We Do All Day? Facebook page about the Ramona-Henry Huggins audiobooks, about whose existence I hadn't known, although I should have, I realized something: in our house, I AM the audiobook.
I normally love reading to my kids. It's one of the most special activities we share. I have a lot of patience for rereading, too, although there are certain books I do refuse to read aloud (e.g. those Rainbow Magic atrocities). But when my kids are sick and my reading aloud is the only entertainment they desire, I sometimes start to feel like an audiobook on which they are pressing play. Over 4 days of my 6-year-old's being sick recently, I read well over 300 pages of the Ramona books Ramona books and we finished the series for the second time. I've also read it aloud - all 8 books - to my older daughter twice. If only I had thought to record myself reading it the first time! (I've known grandparents and other relatives who live far from the children in their lives who have actually done this; it's a great substitute when being together in person isn't possible.)
Of course, reading together provides all kinds of benefits that listening to a recording (whether of me or a professional actor) does not. First of all, there's the snuggling. You can't snuggle with a CD player or an ipod. Second, every time we read together, one or both of us notices something new, or asks a question, or discusses something different. Sometimes I read, without explaining, difficult words, and sometimes I pause to define them. Sometimes my daughters have questions, or a topic comes up that wouldn't have when we last read the book a year ago, when they were a year younger. It would be fascinating to hear a recording of how I read some of these books in the past, and what has changed.
Nonetheless, we all need a break sometime. I don't need to be a martyr! And of course, audiobooks are great for the car. We are city people and are not in the car that frequently, but when we are, good audiobooks also provide some great entertainment without me risking a headache.
Right now our audiobook collection includes only the Frances books, Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One (the first chapter book in The Pain and the Great One series) and CDs that came with some of the books we own: the Barefoot Books of tales (like this, this, and this) and Poetry Speaks to Children (with some of the poems read by the poets themselves!). We've taken The Mouse and the Motorcycle audiobook, one of the Humphrey audiobooks, and one of the Patricia Reilly Giff Zig Zag Kids audiobooks (which I do NOT recommend) out from the library. We quickly discovered that not all narrators are created equal. We just checked out the Henry and Beezus audiobook from the library, but it's an older version read by William Roberts. Anyone know how it compares to the newer ones by Neil Patrick Harris?
I'd like to expand our collection, particularly with chapter books. In my limited experience, Any recommendations, besides the Ramona-Henry Huggins audiobooks? Specific editions/narrator preferences appreciated!