Tag Archives: jim dale

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 Audible.com.  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 Bookriot.com).


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

Listening to Words – Audiobooks

I have become a huge fan of audiobooks.  For one, audiobooks allow me to be productive during the meaningless time spent driving from point A to point B.  I have always felt like driving to places is such a waste of time.  I have always wished I could teleport places so that I could spend my time more efficiently.  Since I have started listening to audiobooks I am very excited to get in the car and drive someplace.  In fact, sometimes I can’t wait.  Second, some stories are just ten times better listened to, especially if it is the right reader.  Third, when I listen to a book that frees up my reading time to read something else.  That means two books at once!

So this leads me to my post for top audiobooks (I have listened to thus far) and top audiobook readers.–

My Top Five Audiobook Readers!

If you find an audiobook read by one of these five people then trust me and buy it/check it out and listen to it!

Allan Corduner

  1. Allan Corduner – I first heard Mr. Corduner for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Besides the fact that this book is amazingly written, it is also splendidly read!!  Corduner is a master at the German accent and even German words.  The minute I heard this book I had to pick up all other audiobooks read by him.  I have been thoroughly enjoying Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series and will soon listen to Angie Sage’s Magyk series.
  2. Neil Gaiman – Oh my goodness!  This man is perfect to listen to!  I have listened to quite a few Neil Gaiman books read by Neil Gaiman and I can’t help wanting more.  My favorite is definitely The Graveyard Book.
  3. Jim Dale – Yes, I would be remiss if I left off the talented Mr. Dale.  I am currently listening to book five of the Harry Potter series and I have been very enthralled every book (although book/year two was my least favorite thus far).  Jim Dale handles the multitude of characters very well and sometimes I am not sure how he keeps them all straight.  Dale’s newest audiobook is The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens.
  4. Xanthe Elbrick – Xanthe Elbrick is amazing!  I loved the book Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke and it was read just perfectly.  Ms. Elbrick has not done many audiobooks but I am hoping that will change soon.
  5. Brendan Fraser – I love Brendan Fraser.  When I found out he read for some audiobooks I could not help but find them immediately.  I first listened to him read Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider and I was hooked by Fraser’s many voices!

My Top Audiobooks (so far)!

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Read by Allan Corduner
  2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  3. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman, Narrated by Pullman and Read by a cast!
  4. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, Read by Jim Dale
  5. Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke, Read by Xanthe Elbrick
  6. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, Read by Brendan Fraser


Filed under Book-Related Stuff