AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Jules Verne, , read by Jim Dale. . Listening Library, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-307-20642-8
The sounds of a chugging steam engine and the orchestral movie-score strains that open this program set the stage for Dale's top-drawer performance of this much-loved adventure story. As one could set a clock by eccentric Phileas Fogg's daily routine, Fogg shocks everyone when he bets his personal fortune that he can complete the trip proposed in the book's title and then sets off on the wild trip. Listeners can almost envision a twinkle in Dale's eye as he delivers the lines of Fogg's traveling companion and man-servant Passepartout in an entertaining, though not over-the-top, French accent. Dale's vibrant, never-hurried reading is pleasantly punctuated by background music of the era at chapter breaks. A bonus afterword notes that this new edition pays homage to Listening Library's very first recording in 1955, of this same book. The added material also mentions the historical and social context of Verne's writings about other cultures, the tone of which would be considered insensitive or offensive by many people today. Ages 8-up.
Reviewed on: 02/14/2005