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April 4, 2011 9:58 AM   Subscribe

We have this terrific audiobook of Winnie The Pooh (with Stephen Fry as Pooh and Judi Dench & all sorts of wonderfulness) and were wondering if there are any more like it?

What makes this so great is that its a) a kids book, b) dramatized, with terrific voice actors, c) background music and sound effects, d) done with really high production values and a real love for (and fidelity to) the source material. (FYI: Fry will always and forever now be the voice of Pooh in my head, replacing the voice of the Disney guy, even.)

I've been trying to find other kids classic books that have been recorded in this same way, but with no success. We do a lot of long car trips in the summer and these are just the perfect thing. Can you think of anything else similar that we might enjoy? Its really the dramatization that makes the difference here, as well as the quality of the actors doing the recording.
posted by anastasiav to Shopping (13 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
The unabridged Phillip Pullman-narrated version of the His Dark Materials trilogy is absolutely excellent (albeit not as light-hearted as Winnie-the-Pooh so maybe not quite what you're looking for).
posted by Dali Atomicus at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2011

Best answer: Check out Pecos Bill as told by Robin Williams. Absolutely hilarious. It's only 30 minutes long but when I was little I used to listen to it every day and it never got old.
posted by smokingmonkey at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Our library's copy of Henry Huggins narrated by Neil Patrick Harris is currently being worn thin by my 7 and 4 year old boys. For the record they are HUGE Winnie the Pooh fans and I plan to check out your recommendation, so thanks!
posted by iscatter at 10:29 AM on April 4, 2011

Best answer: The British Dr. Seuss audiobooks are read by Rik Mayall, and they are fantastic.
posted by mintcake! at 10:37 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

One of my all time favorites is Cyril Ritchard's version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. My sister just about wore out the vinyl version she had as a kid.
posted by gudrun at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2011

Lemony Snickett's Series of unfortunate events is my favourite (skip the ones read by the author and get only the ones read by Tim Curry).

I also really liked Geraldine McCaughrean's reading of Greek Myths, but it is much harder to find.
posted by saucysault at 10:53 AM on April 4, 2011

There is a version of The Polar Express narrated by Liam Neeson that's great.
posted by mattbucher at 11:06 AM on April 4, 2011

Best answer: Also check out Kiddie Records Weekly. They offer mp3s of the records that came with children's books from the 40's-70's. Some of the files are scratchy, as is to be expected, but my kids love all the stories we've gotten from there. Babar, Gerald McBoingBoing, 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, The Amazing Cumulo-Nimbus Machine and so many others. You get one mp3 per record side, I use Audacity to merge the files for continuous play of each book.
posted by Talia Devane at 11:28 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Chronicles of Narnia boxed set includes narrators such as Patrick Stewart, Lynn Redgrave, and Derek Jacobi. The packaging is lovely, too.
posted by Fichereader at 11:51 AM on April 4, 2011

There's a terrific BBC Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass with a spectacular cast including Ian Holm. There's also the whole run of the Narnia books superbly done, read by Paul Scofield I think.. they might be easier to order from the UK, I'm not sure.

Actually, pretty much everything on the BBC children's dramatisations page is great! Loved "Ballet Shoes" and "The Railway Children".

If you can get to BBC7's page, they do a lot of reruns of children's classics, for free!

Erm, not that I listen to a lot of children's books or anything...
posted by Erasmouse at 12:21 PM on April 4, 2011

The Rabbit Ears company has a lot of stories with music read by great actors, many of which have been nominated for Grammies. You can even get digital downloads of some of their titles.

Check out used book stores and music stores for some version of Peter and the Wolf. When I was a kid, we had a copy of Carol Channing doing that and Tubby the Tuba and I loved it.
posted by sarahnade at 12:58 PM on April 4, 2011

Stephen Fry has also narrated the Harry Potter series:

Just him, with no effects/music (if I recall correctly), but they were very well done.
posted by evilelf at 12:17 PM on April 5, 2011

Rabbit Ears, as mentioned above, has a number of good ones including Robin Williams and Ry Cooder doing "Pecos Bill", Meryl Streep and George Winston doing "The Velveteen Rabbit", and a truly delightful version of Kipling's "The Elephant's Child" done by Jack Nicholson and Bobby McFerrin. I haven't heard it in... probably twenty years or so, but the memory of hearing Nicholson say "O Best Beloved" has me searching the local library's catalog to see if they have the recording. And they do! Happy dance!
posted by Lexica at 6:20 PM on April 6, 2011

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