LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ingalls Wilder Laura, , read by Cherry Jones. . HarperAudio, $25.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-054398-3
Wilder's classic autobiographical series about growing up in a pioneer family in the late 1800s makes its audio debut in the very capable hands of stage actress Cherry Jones. This first installment introduces the Ingalls family living in the seemingly endless wild woods of Wisconsin prior to their eventual move west (to Kansas and later Missouri). Tennessee-born Jones brings a subtle (never hokey) homespun sound and comfortable pace to her reading; listeners may well imagine gathering in front of the fireplace or around a campfire for one of her storytelling sessions. But what Jones does best here is use her voice to sustain an appropriate childlike point of view. Her performance invites listeners to join in Laura's adventures and see things as she does, even though the books are written in the third person. (With this approach, for example, Jones livens up the occasional descriptive passages that can be slow going for some readers of the novel.) Award-winning fiddler Paul Woodiel provides lively interludes of "Pa's fiddle music," a joyful sound that was purportedly a staple of the Ingalls home. Ages 8-up.
Reviewed on: 05/12/2003