The boy and I had just finished listening to the harrowing tale told in Gregor and the Marks of Secret, so harrowing that I wasn’t up to listening to the next one right away. Meanwhile, the third Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place had just come into the library, and we were first in line for it. We certainly didn’t want to start a new longer work with that coming any day, so I checked out a couple of these short Rabbit Ears CDs.
Rabbit Ears: American Tall Tales Volume 3: “Mose the Fireman” and “Stormalong.”
Rabbit Ears: World Tales Volume 4: “The White Cat” and “The Fool and the Flying Ship”
The Rabbit Ears stories are all CDs with two stories of about a half hour each, narrated by famous actors. In this case, Michael Keaton reads “Mose the Fireman”, John Candy “Stormalong”, Emma Thompson “The White Cat” and Robin Williams “The Fool and the Flying Ship”. All of the actors seemed to really enjoy the idea of narrating a children’s story, letting loose with a wide variety of characters and appropriate expression. “The White Cat” and “The Fool and the Flying Ship” are very contrasting stories. Thompson’s aristocratic tones tell the story of a younger prince whose friendship with a white cat ripens into love over the course of three years and how they save each other from their differing dilemmas. This is accompanied by beautiful original flute music. “The Fool and the Flying Ship” is narrated with a Yiddish accent and told as slap-stick comedy, with exaggerated expressions. Here, the fool wins the princess without ever really getting to know her, but the antics of the fool and his motley band of lower-class super-powered sidekicks are highly entertaining. The klezmer music backs up the story perfectly. Mose the Fireman and Stormalong are two American folk heroes with whom I was previously unacquainted, despite having read compulsively in the 398s in childhood. Mose’s tale seems to be set in the Roaring 20s, to judge by the music, while Stormalong’s tale takes place a few decades earlier, as sail was making way for steam. Both are entertaining tales of the unbelievable exploits of a fireman and a sailor. Each of these four tales was just about the perfect length to take us one way of the commute to and from school. The seven-year-old was excited by the stories, and the two-year-old loved the music, which meant that for once, everyone was happy. The length means finding a new audio book every day for us, but could be perfect if you have shorter commutes or just want a story to listen to at home. In any case, the stories are fun and the production values high.