by Sharon KozyJune, 2002
Award-winning children's audios
When you're searching for an audiobook that will keep older children entertained on even the longest of car trips, look no further than Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. The audio version of the third entry in Pullman's critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy swept the Audie Awards in May, garnering three of the top slots, including two awards that usually go to audios for adults.
The Amber Spyglass won in the categories for Children's Titles for Ages 8+, Multi-Voice Performance, and Achievement and Innovation in Production. Tim Ditlow, publisher of Listening Library, says British author Phillip Pullman was "extremely gratified that the audiobook was recognized. He was especially impressed when I told him he beat out people like Richard Dreyfuss and Kenneth Branagh," Ditlow recalled with a laugh.
The 14-hour, unabridged audio was recorded in London over several weeks, with Pullman reading the narration and more than 40 well-known British radio and stage actors portraying the characters. "Philip had so much fun doing the recording, his eyes glimmer whenever he sees a microphone. He wants to do it again," Ditlow says.
The Amber Spyglass, which BookPage called "easily the best and most exciting book" in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, was preceded in the series by The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. Due to the complex plot lines in the trilogy, it's best to listen to the three books in order.
Also honored at the Audio Publishers Association's annual gala was Ballet Stories: Coppelia, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, which won in the category for children 7 and under. These classic stories, retold by David Angus, are read by former ballerina Jenny Agutter and accompanied by music from the ballets.