Doug Cooney, , read by Cooney and a full cast. . Full Cast Audio, $17.95 (800-871-6152p) ISBN 978-0-9717540-8-9

A winning group of young actors gives this audio production—based on Cooney's novel—a believable, spunky tone and an entertaining spark that will keep listeners tuned in. Spencer Murphy nails the role of Ernie Castellano, 12-year-old scammer/schemer extraordinaire. With a delivery that's slick, funny and sometimes even a bit smarmy, Murphy seems to relish his role as the entrepreneur behind a neighborhood pet funeral service. Ernie has been punished and amply warned about trying any more schemes to make money off of other kids, but he can't resist. Ernie's kooky eulogies, a girl named Swimming Pool who's the service's official "crier," and artistic "coffin" designs by resident artist Dusty are some of the elements that elicit plenty of laughs. But listeners will also find much to like beyond the silliness as Ernie begins to strengthen his relationships with his father and his newfound friends, and learns about what brings people together. As narrator, Cooney, who originally developed this story as a play at the Lincoln Center Institute, lends a steady, unflappable voice in the midst of occasional chaos. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)