cover image The Aurora County All-Stars

The Aurora County All-Stars

Deborah Wiles, , read by Kate Jackson. . Listening Library, $30 (0pp) ISBN 978-07393-4883-3

Jackson hits a home run as the inspired choice to read Wiles's (Each Little Bird That Sings ) latest, a heartfelt story with baseball at its center. Her slightly raspy voice, shaded with an occasional twang, is perfect for bringing to life the cast of memorable—and colorfully named—characters of a rural town in Mississippi. Using a leisurely storytelling rhythm, the narrator makes listeners feel old friends, taking them along as 12-year-old baseball fanatic House Jackson discovers some long-held secrets—both in his own family, and in the town of Aurora—and how they all finally fit together. Wiles explores issues of death and loss, art versus. sport and the dynamics of true community with humor and tenderness. As a bonus, listeners can hear the slightest chuckle or almost hear a thoughtful smile in Jackson's voice as she reads the quotes from baseball greats and from Walt Whitman that open each chapter. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)