Friday, November 15, 2013

AudioFile reviews visit England; catching up with Quentin Blake

Image courtesy of Penguin Audio, Inc.

Happy Friday dear readers! The latest bunch of reviews for AudioFile Magazine hops the pond into merry old England and the best of its British authors, Roald Dahl and E.V. Odle. I was very happy to see that my nomination of The BFG for the Earphones Award was granted! It is one of my favorite children's books and it was great to have revisited it in such a delightful way. It actually prompted me to investigate what Quentin Blake, a British artist who illustrated many of Roald Dahl's works, is up to these days. I was happy to find that he has a thriving online presence that includes links to a Facebook Page, Twitter feed, and free ecards! Inspired, I dropped him a note letting him know I was reviewing the revamped audiobook version of The BFG,and got a wonderful response back from his secretary, Liz Williams! Further proof to me that women named Elizabeth and any nickname variation of that tend to be awesome people. The correspondence is as follows:  

Dear Mr. Blake,
I recently reviewed the audiobook of the BFG by Roald Dahl narrated by David Walliams, and while it was lovely to listen to I couldn't help but call up in my head as I listened your wonderful illustrations that went along with the book when I first read it myself as a child. Now at age 30, I look back on your work and realize what an impact it had on me not only in my own drawings which I occasionally do for friends and family but also how your work was such a huge and important part of my childhood. I was wondering however, was there a particular Dahl book you enjoyed illustrating the most? In my mind, you seemed to have the most fun with Esio Trot, although my personal favorite is a tie between The Witches and The Twits.

Thanks so much for continuing to grace us with your wonderful talent!

 And the response! 

Dear Elizabeth,

Thanks for your message to Quentin.  He says he enjoyed illustrating all of the Dahl books, in very different ways.  But he does have a soft spot for 'Esio Trot', which he has just recorded in audio (in the same series as 'The BFG') - so you were quite right that he had the most fun with it!

What a joy to know what one the heroes of my childhood is still around and active, with a nice staff who kindly take the time to relay fan mail to him. Simply scrumdiddlyumcious.

Without further ado, the reviews!

Roald Dahl
Read by David Walliams

Versatile British actor David Walliams pulls out all the stops from his vocal repertoire to create a romping narration of this children's classic. There's no voice too big or too small for him, whether it's giving the Big Friendly Giant a deep, rumbling Cockney accent or endowing the queen of England with a prim and proper tone. Helping him along are well-placed sound effects sprinkled throughout--from the loud roars of evil giants to the soft tinkling of glass. The sounds enhance the wacky adventure, which only Roald Dahl could dream up. The four-plus hours whiz by with whimsy and inspired fun. Whether you're a child or a child at heart, you'll have a wopsy, splendiferous time. E.E. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine. 

To view the review on the AudioFile website, click here.

Image courtesy of Dreamscape Media LLC.
E.V. Odle
Read by Ralph Lister

Being a stranger in a strange land is never a comforting experience. Narrator Ralph Lister's animated performance captures all the bewilderment associated with that circumstance in this curious tale about a half-man/half-machine from thousands of years in the future who suddenly appears in 1920s England. Lister's voice moves from the stuffy accents of the British aristocracy to the high-pitched squeak of the Clockwork Man's machinery as it starts malfunctioning, along with associated beeps, buzzes, and, on one occasion, growling. Lister goes after it all with gusto and conveys the deadpan humor with skill. Despite the silliness, the story leaves listeners thinking about how much humanity must be sacrificed to create the ultimate being. E.E. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine.

To view the review on the AudioFile website, click here.

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