cover image A Tiny Piece of Sky

A Tiny Piece of Sky

Shawn K. Stout, read by Tara Sands. Listening Library, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-14-752597-0

Colloquial omniscient narration and entertaining letters between sisters immerse readers in a spirited heroine’s mind and the complexities of 1939 small-town life. Ten-year-old Frankie Baum hates being a “Number Three”: her oldest sister, Elizabeth, can do no wrong, while Frankie’s middle sister and best friend, Joan, gets to spend the summer on their aunt’s farm. Meanwhile, Frankie is stuck working in the kitchen at her father’s new restaurant. Voice actress Sands does an excellent job with Frankie, bringing just the right combination of childlike innocence and youngest-sibling outrage to flesh out the character. She inhabits the other characters with conviction, including the imperious oldest sister, nervous mother, and wise father, as well as various townspeople, such as the scheming mayoral candidate Mr. Price. The performance is strong, and listeners will be cheering for Frankie throughout. As an added bonus, the author reads a touching afterword in which she describes the genesis of the novel, which was inspired by her own grandparents. Ages 9–12. A Philomel hardcover. (Jan.)