Listen Up

My dream suburban home.  Via Pinterest. 

My dream suburban home.  Via Pinterest. 

Even though I sometimes like to pretend otherwise, I live in the suburbs.  With three little children.  Which means I spend a lot of time driving my enormous white minivan in circles.  Sigh.  (But not a big sigh, more like a half-hearted sigh because I really do love those automatic sliding doors.)  While I sometimes get to blast the Spotify channel that I share with my two much cooler younger brothers, more often than not I'm fielding music requests for Winnie the Pooh, Frozen, and Taylor Swift.  For the record, I actually love Taylor Swift, give her serious props for her new Shake It Off video where she makes fun of herself, and dream that one day she'll read Star Sisters and the Big Show and tweet about it.  

Anyways, while facing a long drive to ballet the other day, I decided that I just did not have it in me to be both chauffeur and DJ and took matters into my own hands with Audible, an amazon company with an incredible selection of recorded books.  What took me so long!  The selection of children's books is amazing, with all the classics recorded by some great voices.  There's an easy search function that allows you to browse for suggestions by age and genre.  I think the prices are a tad steep and it's bit annoying that you can't download content directly from your phone, but other than that I was impressed.  Longer books are also broken down by chapter so you can easily switch between listening and reading.  

On this particular rainy day drive to ballet we listened to Matilda, written by Roal Dahl and narrated by Kate Winslet.  I was a bit hesitant about this purchase because I had started reading Matilda to my six-year old a few weeks ago and I felt like she wasn't quite ready for it.  The writing is incredible, but it's also a bit dense and I could tell that her mind was wandering as I read.  Clearly I am no Kate Winslet, because from the moment Kate's voice rose through the speakers, my daughter was entranced.  She was able to follow the story much more easily than when I read it to her.  Maybe it was Kate's nasally impersonation of the evil Mr. Wormwood, or the gentle motion of the car, or the ability to sit and chill and just listen at the end of a long school day.  Whatever the reason, it was the most lovely ride to ballet we've ever had.  I got to study a master of children's fiction while doing the suburban mom shuffle.  It almost felt like a stolen hour of work.

I'm taking this big girl to NYC next weekend to see Matilda on Broadway for her birthday and I plan on bringing some split headphones for the train ride.  I think it's such a cool thing to be able to see works of literature in different medias - the page, the stage, the voice.  Such a testament to the impact that a good book can have on the world.  And speaking of birthdays, birthday party season is upon us and I'm fully stocked on star necklaces.  Click on over to Star Stuff to have a set of books and a necklace all beautifully wrapped delivered right to your door (see pics below).  Who knows, with all your awesome support maybe I'll be recording Star Sisters for Audible someday.  Actually, strike that.  Maybe Kate Winslet will be recording Star Sisters someday!  Dream big, guys!