cover image  The Scarecrow and His Servant

The Scarecrow and His Servant

Philip Pullman, , read by Graeme Malcolm. . Listening Library, $30 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-307-28074-9

Oz isn't the only place where scarecrows make great traveling companions. In Pullman's (The Golden Compass ) charming and original fairy tale, a natty and blithe scarecrow comes to life when he's struck by lightning. He quickly hires on a local orphan boy named Jack to be his servant and the two set off to see not the wizard, but the world—and seek out a place called Spring Valley, where the scarecrow knows he belongs. Entertaining adventures, including outwitting a band of brigands, ensue. British actor Malcolm's velvety, elegant voice makes nimble transitions between a cast of distinct character voices: the gruff brigands, simple farmer and eager young Jack. The scarecrow's confident, sophisticated manner of speaking is humorous and sometimes touching—but always memorable. Listeners will delight in Malcolm's interpretation of this blend of new twists and familiar elements, all strung together in Pullman's fine style. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)