Paul Fleischman, Author
Paul Fleischman, Author , read by a full cast. Audio Bookshelf $18.95 (800-234-1713) ISBN 1-883332-89-3 ISBN 978-1-883332-95-2
Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 01/01/2003

Fleischman's talent for writing stories from various points of view makes his works particularly appealing in audiobook form. Here, 13 different characters come alive via the distinct performances of a widely varied cast. When Kim, a young Vietnamese girl, plants some lima beans in a run-down vacant lot near her Cleveland, Ohio, apartment building, she has no idea that her actions will be a catalyst for reinvigorating the community. An elderly Romanian woman, a widower from Kentucky, an African-American boy and a Hispanic man are just a sampling of the other nearby residents who gradually emerge to follow Kim's unintentional lead and begin to help grow a new garden—and newly fulfilled lives—in the lot. Though not all the readings are of equal caliber (the portrayals of Ana and Wendell are particularly strong; a couple of the child performers lack polish), the range of voices and styles suggests a true community—certainly the author's intention. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

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