cover image HEARTBEAT


Sharon Creech, , read by Mandy Seigfried. . HarperChildren's Audio, $17.95 ( , unabridged, two CDs, 2.5 hrs., $17.95 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-06-074485-4

Seigfried's youthful, bright (but not overly chipper) voice proves a good vehicle for interpreting Creech's latest, a novel-in-poems about the swirl of momentous change that moves through 12-year-old Annie's life. An introspective artist and talented athlete who loves to run barefoot through the countryside, Annie truly embraces her free spirit. But the big picture of Annie's place in the world takes on complexity as Annie's mother becomes pregnant, her best friend Max urges her to conform and join the track team and her grandfather becomes increasingly forgetful. Through it all, Annie discovers ways to view things from new perspectives and follow her grandfather's advice to "stick to your guns." The result is a wholly satisfying emotional journey. Listeners will enjoy keeping pace with Creech's well-drawn Annie as Seigfried's effective narration makes her character even more memorable. Ages 8-up. (Mar.)

FYI: Simultaneous Harper/Joanna Cotler hardcover.