Sunday, January 17, 2010

Great find

We're in the throes of a second Peter Pan obsession over here. Jack was so wild about Peter Pan that he dressed like him back when he was three for almost a year, it seems like... my more mild-mannered second child is simply toting around his little tape player, plugging it in wherever he happens to be, and playing this Peter and Wendy tape over, and over, and over (and over). Luckily I happen to completely love it. It's an unabridged version of the book and also dramatized, by the California Artists Radio Theater Company. I got it at Half Price Books and Jack never really got into it. Now we're listening to it non-stop and I do feel it's tremendous. The original book is just SO fabulous and funny and charming, here's the first few lines:
"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.
Of course they lived at 14 [their house number on their street], and until Wendy came her mother was the chief one. She was a lovely lady, with a romantic mind and such a sweet mocking mouth. Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that come from the puzzling East, however many you discover there is always one more; and her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there is was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand corner.
The way Mr. Darling won her was this: the many gentlemen who had been boys when she was a girl discovered simultaneously that they loved her, and they all ran to her house to propose to her except Mr. Darling, who took a cab and nipped in first, and so he got her. He got all of her, except the innermost box and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and in time he gave up trying for the kiss. Wendy thought Napoleon could have got it, but I can picture him trying, and then going off in a passion, slamming the door. "

Writing like this just makes me swoon! On top of which, it's all dramatized with sound effects, and WONDERFUL actors reading the dialogue, and real children's voices where the children should be, and narrated by Roddy McDowall with this great Scottish burr which is so pleasing to the ear. Unfortunately we are missing the second tape. I searched on Amazon and couldn't even find this fine piece of audio, and was worried that it was only a matter of time before our toddler destroyed the first tape as well, and there we'd be, Peter Pan-less. I tell you, it just wouldn't be the same listening to an audio recording of someone reading the book, no matter how fine their voice might be. Well lo and behold the wonders of Google yielded this treasure trove: California Artists Radio Theater Company website and an archive of dozens and dozens of other radio dramatizations of books they had performed... lots are for adults but there aresome great ones I'm dying to purchase and listen to with the kids: Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes (not sure, but they might dig it), Wizard of Oz... $6.99 to buy the MP3, which I think is quite affordable. Yes, it would've been possibly more exciting if I had discovered them all hear for the listening for free (a la kiddierecords) but I'm willing to shell out for such high quality listening. We listen to audio books so so sooo much and I am always seeking ones that won't drive me batshit bonkers. Like the Magic Treehouse series.... which Jack started listening to when he was three and gosh it's been about three years we've been listening to the incredibly dull and predictable and annoying Mary Pope Osborne of whom the kid never tire. Good stuff is Hank the Cowdog AS READ by the author... I haven't read the books but I can't see how they could possibly compare to the audio because all the voices and songs he does just can't be beat. I don't know if I've ever succesfully turned anyone on to Hank the Cowdog but please hear me now: it is SO funny, even for adults. We love it. We also discovered Eleanor Estes and Pinky Pye and Ginger Pye... loved that... and Harriet the Spy was one we all listened to constantly until it had to go back to the library... and there's awesome Little House on the Prairie ones read by Cherry Jones.... do any of you all out there have any suggestions?

And on a Peter Pan related note, please do not click this link.... don't do it... please please don't do it... my gosh you just had to go and click it, didn't you... please don't blame me if this guy haunts your dreams/nightmares, you brought it upon yourself, dear reader....


Antonia said...

Oh God, Magic Treehouse. I feel your pain.

It's just sooooo poorly written. Why can't she write in complete sentences? I don't get it!

Kami said...

sooooooo booooooooooooooring....