Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Young Fredle

Young Fredle
By Cynthia Voigt, read by Wendy Carter
Published 2011 by Listening Library

Fredle is an ordinary mouse, living a pretty ordinary life until one day he finds himself outside. And his world will never be the same again. Will Fredle survive the outside? Can he find a way back to his family?

I downloaded this audiobook a looooong time ago - so long ago that it would probably be shameful for me to admit exactly when. I chose this one because it won an Odyssey Award Honor, given for outstanding audiobook production for young people. I use that award as a starting point for choosing new audiobooks to listen to occasionally. So I downloaded this one. But then, I avoided listening to it. As I've mentioned, talking animal fantasies are really not my thing. Additionally, I had recently listened to another audiobook about talking mice (Secrets at Sea), so I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to dive right back into that world so soon. Finally, I decided to listen to all the books on my iPod before downloading any new ones. Thus, Young Fredle and I would finally spend time together.

That's a lot of buildup to a review that probably isn't going to be terribly spectacular. Unlike my beloved Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, this book didn't do much to dissuade me of my animosity toward talking animal books. What I will give this book is the beauty of its writing - perhaps even more shamefully, I believe this is the first book by Voigt I've read. The writing in this book is excellent - the concept of "went" and the language of the mice; it all just reads beautifully. I even found Fredle a very endearing character. I rooted for him the whole way through and loved discovering things right along with him.

But this book and I were not meant to be soulmates. In my opinion, this book has great appeal to a certain type of reader and, in general, I am just not that type of reader. This is a pretty gentle, episodic read, good for kids who really like animal stories. Additionally, this book seems made to be read aloud - I enjoyed the audio presentation, and I can easily imagine families gathered round together reading a chapter every night. With some notable exceptions (Toys Go Out and companions), I'm not really a gentle story type of reader. I can definitely see this book's appeal; it's just not the one for me.

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