It’s been busy here, with no time for blog entries! Fortunately, there’s still been time to listen to audio books to (eventually) report back and review. I’ve listened to six different books since the last audio entry, but I’m not sure all six will make it into this blog entry. We’ll see. So, without further ado…
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Emma is the princess of Greater Greensward, but even more important, she’s also the Green Witch of Greater Greensward, in charge of all the magic use in the kingdom. Not bad, for a sixteen-year-old former cursed frog. After attending the spur-of-the-moment swamp wedding of her Aunt Grassina and her beau, the former enchanted otter Haywood, Emma and her fiance, Prince Eadric of Upper Montevista decide that it’s time to clear up some issues with Eadric’s parents, King Bodamin and Queen Frazzela. Although it pains Emma to admit it, it’s time for a visit to Upper Montevista.
The biggest issue that Emma is avoiding is Queen Frazzela’s hatred of any magic and magic users. For Emma, who uses magic daily for everything from cleaning her room to weeding her garden to settling a dispute between warring factions of witches, the queen’s attitude is incomprehensible. But she is the Queen, and Eadric’s mother. And the two of them have been avoiding facing the King and Queen of Upper Montevista for months. Adventures with dragons and curses are fun, but even Eadric has admitted that it’s time to start planning for their own wedding.
The first snag is when Emma’s mother, Queen Chartreuse, decides that she must join Emma. Although the queen understands the need for magic, she really doesn’t approve of it any more than Eadric’s mother does. So long, quick magic carpet ride! Since the queen doesn’t think it’s proper for a princess to be traveling unchaperoned, she can’t even ride horseback with Eadric. So it’s an uncomfortably long horse-drawn carriage ride for Emma, complete with maids, trunks of wardrobe, dressmakers, a trousseau, and the company of her mother. And her grandmother, the formerly evil witch, her grandfather the ghost, her aunt, the royal fairies…pretty much everyone at the castle! Emma manages to leave quickly though, leaving the queen and her entourage to follow a few days behind. In the carriage it will be just Emma, her friend Lily, a bat who can talk, and Shelton, a crab she’s taking care of for her mermaid friend.
The journey isn’t easy, and Emma is tempted to use her magic as they run into problems along the way. Their arrival in Upper Montevista is no happy homecoming though, as they learn that Prince Eadric’s younger brother, Prince Bradston, has been kidnapped by trolls! Emma and Eadric set off on a mission to rescue the prince, even though Emma isn’t sure that he hasn’t brought this catastrophe upon himself. The problem is that, to satisfy both Queen Frazzela and Queen Chartreuse, Emma has promised not to use magic. Even as a last resort. What’s a Green Witch to do? When it becomes apparent that there are trolls, dragons, vampires, sea monsters and other creatures after Emma and Eadric (not to mention the girls fluttering over and flirting with the prince, right under Emma’s nose) Emma has to make some difficult decisions about magic and friendship, not to mention allies, enemies and family.
The audio recording of No Place for Magic is absolutely, incredibly wonderful! Katherine Kellgren, the reader, has a huge range of voices, each with a different accent, speech pattern and tone. I absolutely adored her vocal range and voices. Not surprising! When you look her up online, you will find that she has recorded over a hundred audio books, and she won the Audie Award for Best Voice in Young Adult and Fantasy from 2008 through 2011. She’s a finalist for the 2014 Audie Award for the narration of a book that’s near and dear to my heart, Magic Marks the Spot, by local author Caroline Carlson. In other words, she’s a shining star of audio books! I would highly recommend anything Ms. Kellgren has narrated, not just No Place for Magic.
Although No Place for Magic is Book Four in The Tales of the Frog Princess, you don’t necessarily have had to read the previous volumes to enjoy this title. Although the listener (or reader) would perhaps have a better idea of the background characters if they did read the previous books, No Place for Magic does stand well on its own. It’s an enjoyable story with fairy tale characters, monsters and humor each playing a sizable role. The stellar performance of Ms. Kellgren is a reason to listen as well. There are currently eight volumes in the Tales of the Frog Princess series
No Place for Magic is written for third through sixth grade readers. The audio recording would be enjoyable for the entire family, with good listeners as young as four or five. Fans of fairy tales would love it. It would make a perfect audio book for a family car ride! It’s also available as an e-book through the Minuteman Library Network Digital Media Page. If you’re going on vacation, it would be a fun pick to bring along.
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And that’s it. I think I’ll try to write one review every day until I catch up with all the listening. So…until tomorrow!