Adventure, Fantasy & Jim Dale = The Emerald Atlas


I love listening to audiobooks (as you may have discovered from a previous post, Listening to Words). When I found out that Jim Dale, the reader for the Harry Potter audio series, narrated a new book called The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens, I practically squealed with excitement. I had heard great things about The Emerald Atlas (especially from Erin at Random Acts of Reading). I was excited to read the book, but learning of the audiobook I became even more excited. I was not disappointed.

The Emerald Atlas is delightful. Maybe delightful is not quite the right adjective. “Delightful” makes it sound unassuming and “nice.” The Emerald Atlas is exciting, intriguing and wonderfully written.

The Emerald Atlas is about three precocious siblings who are whisked away from their parents at a very young age to protect them from a merciless evil. Kate, the oldest, is the only one to remember their parents. Michael, the middle, is quite nerdy and loves everything that has to do with dwarves. Emma, the youngest, will be the first to bully her brother and the last–if anyone else tries to bully him then they will have to talk to her fists. The three kids are passed from orphanage to orphanage until finally landing in a mysterious town called Cambridge Falls. There they find an enchanted book, a kind of emerald atlas. This book transports them to a past time in Cambridge Falls where they must defeat a wicked Countess. The world of The Emerald Atlas involves dwarves, giants, wizards, and witches. It is a great fantasy book and if you have enjoyed the Harry Potter books then you must pick this one up. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Non and I had the privilege of meeting John Stephens at The Why Chromosome Event, hosted by Bridge to Books. Stephens was delightful; and this time “delightful” is exactly the right adjective. I told him that the audiobook is fantastic (as if he needed my validation). We spoke briefly about how amazing Jim Dale is as a reader. Stephens described a dinner outing with Jim Dale in which Dale would order food using various Harry Potter character voices. I only wish I could hear Dolores Umbridge order a burger with fries (I’m sure this is not what Jim Dale ordered).

Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade Books / Fantasy
Themes: Family, Siblings, Time, Magic, Dwarves
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, imprint of Random House


Side note: Audiobooks in general are amazing. If you haven’t tried listening to one then get some recommendations from friends or myself so that you start the experience out right. There have been times when a reader has not captured the world or voices correctly (or at least in my opinion). Neil Gaiman has started an amazing audiobook production called Neil Gaiman Presents, which can be downloaded/purchased from  He matches readers with books and understands the importance of a well-read audiobook. See a review of one of the adult titles, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break: A Novel (from


Another side note:

Don’t forget about the Giveaway Schmiveaway! Win a signed Andrew Smith book! The giveaway ends December 10th at midnight, PST.


Enter to win by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments. Every current and new subscriber is entered into the contest automatically. If you happen to leave comments on posts then those will count as additional entries. Winners will be picked randomly.



Filed under Book-Related Stuff, Middle Grade Books

8 responses to “Adventure, Fantasy & Jim Dale = The Emerald Atlas

  1. Doppelganger

    I still haven’t listened to an audio book. But now that I know there is Harry Potter on audio, I might do that! Love me some Harry Potter! I just got a few fairy tales on audio for my son and he’s fallen in love with the Goldilocks story. He has it on repeat!

    • How adorable! Is there the story about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf on that cd? If he has heard that story then you should read The True Story Of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf (as told to Jon Scieszka). It is told from the perspective of the misunderstood wolf. The book is hilarious.

  2. Annie Moore Books

    OMG! I LOVE audiobooks. I’m listening to a lovely one read by Jim Dale now called Liesl and Po. I strongly support anyone listening to audiobooks. It brings a new element to the whole narrative experience.

  3. I have only listened to one audio book before. It was The Magic Tree House and it came in a Wendy’s kids meal. Maybe it’s because I prefer reading at my own pace…

    • I think it might be time to try a new one! Of course, some books are better read at your own pace. I started getting into audiobooks because I was driving a lot and going to Graduate school. I had so much to read for class that I couldn’t justify reading a young adult or middle grade book, therefore I listened while I was driving. Some of the more complicated fantasy books are best read. I just started Reckless by Cornelia Funke and while the reader is great I have had a couple moments where I need to rewind and re-listen.

  4. I love audio books – they keep me sane in LA traffic…I loved The Emerald Atlas – good to hear the audio is good will check it out!


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