Holiday Fare

Bah, humbug! Just in time for the holidays, actor Jim Dale reads a new, unabridged version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It's a natural extension for Dale, who is the voice of the Harry Potter audiobooks and who also takes the stage in New York City later this month as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: The Musical. The audiobook, for which Dale created 23 voices, is available on both CD and cassette. Watch for Dale as Scrooge on a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, too. (Listening Library, unabridged, two cassettes, three hours, $19; three CDs, $19 ISBN 1-4000-8602-7; -8603-5 ages 8-up, Nov.)

Time to Sing! At Christmas aims to make sing-alongs fun for kids who are just mastering language skills. On this CD, 22 holiday tunes are arranged at a slightly slower pace than traditional recordings, allowing younger children and perhaps those new to English to more easily join in and sing. An array of musical styles from funky to country to spiritual appear here on such beloved carols as "Joy to the World" "Jingle Bells" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Arranged and conducted by singer/composer/musician James Coffey, this title is a project from the Center for Creative Play in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Center for Creative Play, 800-977-5708, CD $16.99, ages 2-6, Oct.)

The holiday message of goodwill to all shines on the truly multicultural release Sing 'n' Sign Holiday Time with Gaia. Gaia and Jonnie and several children perform 14 holiday songs—including "The Twelve Days of Christmas," "Dreidel" and "It's Kwanzaa Time"—using American Sign Language. Also available as a CD recording with an illustrated signing book. (Heartsong Communications, 800-631-2187, DVD, 2 hours, $29.95; ISBN 1-892151-10-3, ages 3-up, Nov.)