cover image The Island of Dr. Libris

The Island of Dr. Libris

Chris Grabenstein, read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, , unabridged, 4 CDs, 5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-553-55271-3

Billy is spending the summer in a cabin on a lake with no TV, internet, or video games. The cabin’s owner, Dr. Libris, has a large collection of books that Billy is welcome to use if he can find the key to the bookcase cabinet. Needing distraction, Billy tackles puzzles in the library until he finds the key. He begins reading The Twelve Labors of Hercules when he looks up he notices an island in the middle of the lake where two enormous men are fighting; Billy conjured up Hercules and Antaeus simply by reading about them. Grabenstein mixes up a melange of characters from the books Billy (and eventually two neighbor children) reads, with Hercules, Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers, Maid Marian, and Pollyanna coming together in dangerous escapades. Even modern myths show up: video game creatures and wizards from trading cards. Reader Heyborne gives each a quirky trait that adds even more color to the story. For example, he gives Robin Hood a delightful over-the-top laugh; the Musketeers have recognizably French accents but are easily understandable; and the video game Space Lizard’s ultra-hissy sibilant voice will give listeners shivers. Heyborne’s performance conjures up the magic of literature and the excitement of summer. Ages 8–12. A Random hardcover. (Mar.)