REVIEW: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Having seen the ads for the movie, but not gone to see it, I was curious about “Shutter Island”. I was happy to be able to get it from my library and even more thrilled to realize it was by Dennis Lehane (author of “Mystic River”).

“Shutter Island” tells the story of Teddy Daniels, US Marshall, who is sent to a secure residential facility for schizophrenic, violent offenders, in order to find a missing patient. Teddy and his partner, Chuck, uncover more than they bargain for – and fear that this trip may be their last assignment! (can’t say much more than that without spoilers).

This was the kind of book I love to read when I’m stressed out: it’s quick, easy, hard-to-put-down, and keeps you thinking, guessing, wondering. I loved it! I’ve since gone to find more Dennis Lehane books to read. I’ll probably rent the movie from Netflix, but is the movie ever as good as the book??

I’ll give it 5 Stars – I liked it that much and it held me enthralled until the very end (which I’m still thinking about).

Family Fun Audiobook Review: Dinotopia by James Gurney

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to be contacted by Carrie from the ZBS Foundation as to whether I would be interested in reviewing their audiobook of “Dinotopia”. I had heard of “Dinotopia” the beautifully illustrated picture book, but didn’t know much about it. I happily agreed and received both “Dinotopia” and “Dinotopia: the World Beneath”. My discriminating listeners and I listened to “Dinotopia” in the car this past week.

“Dinotopia” tells the story of Arthur and his son, Will, who are shipwrecked and stranded on an island inhabited by dinosaurs (and other humans who are descendants of previously shipwrecked people) in the 1860’s.  They adapt to their new surroundings and communities, have adventures, etc.

My kids – ages 5 and 6 – and I loved listening to this audiobook. Unlike other ones we’ve heard, this story is performed with a full cast and sound effects. The kids loved the music and the background sounds of dinosaurs, a busy shopping center, the jungle, etc. They followed along with the story and often asked for me to turn it on in the car (a true mark of favor!). I have not read the books in the series, but this one appeared to end as a chapter in a series. We’ll look forward to listening to the next installment!

This was a truly unique listening experience for us, and I’d like to thank Carrie from the ZBS Foundation (my understanding from checking their website is that it is a non-profit arts organization) for sending us these audio CD’s for our enjoyment!

I’ll have to give this one 5 Stars!

Family Fun Audiobook Review: The Cricket in Times Square

On a recent trip to my favorite bookstore I saw the audiobook for “The Cricket in Times Square” by George Selden. I remember loving this book when I was in third grade, so I got it to listen to in the car with my children (ages 5 and 6). Originally published in 1960, “The Cricket in Times Square” is the classic children’s story of Chester Cricket, who arrives in Times Square from his native Connecticut after falling asleep in a picnic basket of roast beef sandwiches. Chester befriends Tucker Mouse, Harry the Cat, and Mario, the young boy whose family runs a newstand in a subway station (where Chester takes up residence). The friends realize that Chester has an amazing talent — an ability to play any music that he has heard. This story is a timeless classic along the themes of friendship, loyalty, individual talent, and the love of home.

I hadn’t realized, until I checked on Amazon, that Selden had written additional stories featuring Chester and his friends. I can’t wait to check them out with my children!