cover image THE STEPS


Rachel Cohn, , read by Caitlin Greer. . Listening Library, $18 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8072-1558-6

Greer brings an adolescent enthusiasm and stuck-up attitude to spare to her skillful characterization of 12-year-old Annabel, a girl dealing with her ever-evolving, unconventional family. Though Annabel's parents never married each other, they have formed new families with new spouses, bringing a variety of step- and half-siblings into Annabel's once peaceful, only-child world. In an effort to get some blending under way, fashion-conscious Manhattanite Annabel is sent to Australia over Christmas break to visit her father and meet his "other" family. The results are prickly, funny and touching—a good source of material for Greer's multi-layered performance. Though she occasionally stumbles over the rhythms of Cohn's sassy phrasing, Greer does a commendable job tackling the Australian accent Annabel describes as mixing "a British Tinkerbell fairy with a chef from Louisiana." Middle-graders will likely flock to this production of an entertaining (and hip) tale. Simultaneous release with the Simon & Schuster hardcover. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)