Our family would not survive a road trip without audiobooks. We do have one of those fancy movie players in our van, but it broke after about a year of having our new-to-us van, so didn’t get much use. So, back to audiobooks for us!
Just in time for Spring Break travel, these are some of our all-time favorite audiobooks.
Some, we have listened to many many times. One, in particular, (ahem.. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and read by Kate Winslet) was heard so many times when Boo was in preschool, that he would go to school and speak with an English accent. We go back to it often as we know and love the stories so well.
And I will go on record as saying that if I could own every audiobook narrated by Kate Winslet, I would. She is an absolute joy to listen to. Matilda by Roald Dahl, read by Kate Winslet, is another one of our all time faves.
With an 11-year old and an 8-year old, choosing an audiobook for both ages, can get kinda tricky. Luckily, Big D is pretty easily entertained so long as it’s a good story. He’ll happily listen to Nate the Great stories even though they are a bit young for him (if you haven’t heard this narrator’s version of Rosamond in these stories, you are seriously missing out). But, with the 8-year old, we have to make sure that what we choose is still appropriate for him.
Thankfully, there are loads of wonderful audiobooks out there. I love to sneak in books that my kids would never choose to read on their own, like Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan, narrated by Glenn Close. Both boys LOVED this entire series (there are five stories in total) and would beg to listen to it every time we got into the car.
A narrator can make or break an audiobook. I highly recommend listening to a snippet to see if they are to your taste or not. I am still bitter about the narrator for the Anne of Green Gables books (which I love!) She is awful in my opinion and neither I nor my boys, could stand more than a few minutes of it.
And considering that you will likely be listening to it too, it needs to be more than just entertaining for kids. All of these were fun for my husband and me to listen to as well!
Here are our top 10 favorite audiobooks from the last few years:
Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians is actually the first in this fun series by Brandon Sanderson. It starts off a little cheesy, but once it gets going, it’s very clever and has a very engaging and fun storyline. Who knew that there was a band of evil librarians trying to hide information from the world? We have listened to all of them and have since figured out what each family member’s ‘talent’ is.
The BFG and Matilda are classic Roald Dahl and the narrators for each of them, are amazing. Highly recommend. Though, a note for parents that if you have kids who scare really easily, The BFG does talk about giants who eat little kids (crunch on their bones, etc), so just be aware. But, if they’ve seen the movie that came out recently, you should be fine. Awesome movie, by the way, if you haven’t seen it.
The Enchanted Wood (first in the series) and The Magic Faraway Tree (2nd book) by Enid Blyton are two of my all-time fave children’s books. A collection of stories about three kids (siblings) who move to the country and find an enchanted tree with fairies and elves and other creatures living in it. And at the top of the tree are revolving lands like ‘the land of do as you please’ or ‘topsy turvy land’. The children and their fairy friends have all sorts of adventures and get into all sorts of quandaries. If you can find the audiobook, I recommend it to nearly everyone. There is also a 3rd one, The Folk of the Faraway Tree, but I don’t see that one anywhere. We have all three in one set, but we received it as a gift from family in Australia many years ago. I don’t know why they stopped producing it.
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Suess is really fun to listen to. Each story is narrated by a different celebrity and it’s a lot of Dr Suess that I had not heard before plus some old favorites. We wore that CD out when my kids were smaller. It’s still a fun one to pull out on short trips or is great for smaller children that might not have the attention span for an entire book.
The Long Winter and Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder are my favorite books in the Little House series. For kids who are not really into Little House books (or boys who think they are “girl’s books”), these two are great introductions to the Ingalls and Wilder families. My boys loved both of them. I read The Long Winter almost every winter to help remind me that I’ve got it pretty good!
A friend of mine was aghast when I didn’t know who Mrs. Piggle Wiggle was. She had grown up reading these quirky books as a child. Of course, I immediately went out and searched my library to see what I was missing! After we were hooked, we got Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for a road trip one year and have listened to it many times since. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has a clever cure for nearly every kid problem out there!
I’m always on the hunt for something special that I’ve not heard of before, so I’d love to hear about your favorites too! Be sure to check your local library for these to save a buck or two and remember that they also make wonderful birthday or Christmas gifts! Happy listening!