Jenny Nimmo, , read by Simon Russell Beale. . Listening Library, $28 (, unabridged, five cassettes, 7 hrs., $28 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-8072-1662-0

An air of suspense appropriately colors British actor Beale's deft reading of Nimmo's diverting fantasy—the first in a planned trilogy—about a boy possessed of unusual powers and the odd mysteries that swirl around him. Young Charlie is confused when he hears voices coming from a photograph, but his paternal grandmother takes pleasure in this development, believing Charlie is endowed with the family talent for magic. It's quickly determined that Charlie will attend Bloor's Academy for gifted children—where "gifted" takes on a whole new meaning. At his new school Charlie finds himself trying to unravel the complicated story of a fellow student, someone believed to have appeared in one of the photos that Charlie has heard. Beale sounds innocent, curious or sinister as the case may be while he portrays young Charlie and his friend Ben, plus Charlie's sour grandmother Bone and a coven of great-aunts. The result is good fun, just in time for Harry Potter listeners who need a fresh fix of adventure. One note: A few of the Britishisms that appear on the recording do not appear in the American print edition of the book. Ages 9-up. (June)