cover image Welcome to Camden Falls

Welcome to Camden Falls

Ann Matthews Martin, , read by Ariadne Meyers, . Scholastic Audiobooks, $25.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-545-00514-2

Meyers’s honeyed, youthful voice gives Martin’s latest, the first in the Main Street series for middle-graders, the easygoing pace one might expect from the series’ title. Eleven-year-old Flora and her younger sister Ruby are orphaned when their parents are killed in a car accident. Five months after the tragedy, the siblings move with their grandmother Min to her home in the sleepy small town of Camden Falls, Mass. As the family grieves and adjusts to new circumstances—“getting their life back in order”—listeners are taken along to meet interesting friends and neighbors in Camden Falls. Kind-hearted Min co-owns a sewing shop, Needle and Thread, and lives in one of eight connected row houses in a historic building—all fodder for the sort of diverse community interactions, budding friendships and dramas that are the stuff of many of the author’s popular works. Unfortunately, Meyers’s characterizations are uneven, in contrast to her solid, straight narrative passages. Ruby’s voice is too babyish and whiny, and the girls’ energetic new pal Olivia is given an affected child characterization that is equally grating. Her takes on some of the older town residents, as well as a boy with Down Syndrome are slightly more successful. A bonus author interview, in which she discusses her characters, series and career is included. Ages 9-up. (June)