cover image The Mercy Watson Collection: Volume 1

The Mercy Watson Collection: Volume 1

Kate DiCamillo, , read by Ron McClarty. . Listening Library, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-307-28425-9

Because of Winn-Dixie , the Newbery Honor-winning debut of Kate DiCamillo, has made such a splash into popular culture that one can even purchase a plush "Winn-Dixie" toy. Her new character Mercy, the "porcine wonder," may be next in the popularity line. Certainly children will relate to this lovable porker, her relentless pursuit of "hot toast with a great deal of butter" and her ability to allow this narrow focus to lead her blindly into unforeseen situations (that, fortunately for her, inadvertently make her into the town hero). Actor-turned-writer Ron McLarty does an excellent job of narrating Mercy's adventures. His voice carries just the right balance of a knowing but friendly authority who himself is charmed by the overly enthusiastic Mercy. His years as a voiceover talent serve him well, allowing him to conjure up wonderful voices for all of the characters. Particularly fun is his cartoonish public official voice for Officer Tomillelo, whose internal dialogue goes like this: "Have laws been broken here? Most certainly, laws have been broken here." Ages 6-9. (June)