A paddleboat steamer is not exactly Frankie and Devin's chosen form of transportation. But when they find themselves in Jules Vernes's Around the World in Eighty Days, they figure they had better get used to it! Frankie and Devin join Phileas Fogg on his crazy adventure to beat an 80-day deadline to circle the globe. Rescuing a princess, fighting off savages, and engaging in duels are all in an 80 days' work. Oh, what a trip!
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Gr 5-8-In this final part to the audio trilogy that began with Switchers (Jan. 2000, p. 74) followed by Midnight's Choice (May 2001, p. 76), we meet Tess as she approaches her 15th birthday. Those familiar with the previous stories will be enthralled with this one; others, meeting Tess and Kevin for the first time, can follow the storyline after hearing the first side of Tape 1, and also will be captured by its enchantments. Actress Frances Tomelty, a storyteller extraordinaire, gives a superb performance of Kate Thompson's novel (Hyperion, 2000). The range of her voices, from the tyrannical and angry Uncle Morris to the asthmatic cousin, flow gracefully. Her creative rendition of the animal voices infuse their anthropomorphic quality with magic. Listeners don't feel as if she is reading the text, but rather that it is a part of her own memory which she chooses to share. Her lilting Irish voice vitalizes every character in the story. Because of aural intensity and sensitivity accompanying each of the characters and their situations, the sound can range dramatically in a short period of time--from Uncle Morris' thundering tirade against the cost of rat extermination, to the response of her meek and quiet aunt. This coming-of-age tale will appeal to pre-adolescents especially, as Tess must decide between her own narcissistic desires or being a voice for the earth's wild creatures. Adults will enjoy this too, as it illuminates the complex psychological dilemmas of changing family relationships.
Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From Kirkus Reviews:
Thompson closes the trilogy begun with Switchers (1998) by bringing young shapeshifter Tess to her pivotal 15th birthday, after which her ability to change into any animal will be lost. Or maybe not, as she discovers. An unhappy visitor to relatives in rural County Clare, Tess agonizes over which shape to take as her permanent one. The plot thickens when three cousins vanish into the same eerie patch of woods that swallowed an uncle 20 years before. In tracking them down, Tess learns not only that a pale remnant of the fairy folk still exists in their underground fairy sidhes but also that their blood runs in her veins. Suddenly, her decision becomes even tougher, for with just a bite of fairy food her powers will remain and expand--at the cost of losing her connection with time, humanity, and the natural world. Plainly a devil's bargain. The story develops slowly compared to the first two installments, and stands alone only by virtue of repeated back filling, but readers will see how tempting each of Tess's options are, and how her previous experiences influence her eventual choice. Tess's forays into animal worlds and realms of magic thread this coming-of-age tale with humor and melodrama. (Fiction. 11-13) -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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