cover image Hold Fast

Hold Fast

Blue Balliett, read by Bahni Turpin. Scholastic Audiobooks, unabridged, seven CDs, 7.75 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-0-545-49766-4

Eleven-year-old Early loves her family: her father, Dashiell (called Dash), who works at a library and enjoys wordplay of all kinds; her mother, Summer (called Sum); and her little brother, Jubilation (called Jubie). Together they call their family "DashSumEarlyJubie," delighting in how their names "click" together like magnets, the family members fitting together perfectly in a happy unit. But after doing some off-hours work cataloging books at home, Dash mysteriously disappears, criminals threaten the family and tear apart their apartment, and Early and her mother and brother end up out of money and trying to survive in the city's shelter system. It's up to Early to solve the mystery of what happened to her father and reunite the family. Balliett's novel is perfect for audio: Dash's talks with his family are full of alliteration and rhymes, and he often quotes the poems of Langston Hughes, which later give Early clues to solving the mystery. Narrator Bahni Turpin's superb reading brings out all the musicality and rhythm of the text, and she creates authentic, distinctive voices for a multitude of characters of varying ages and accents. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. A Scholastic hardcover. A Doubleday hardcover. (Mar.)