Susan Cooper is one of our foremost children's authors; her classic five-book fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising has sold millions of copies worldwide. Her many books have won the Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and been shortlisted five times for the Carnegie Medal. She combines fantasy with history in Victory (a Washington Post Top Ten for Children novel), King of Shadows and Ghost Hawk, and her magical The Boggart and the Monster, second in a trilogy, won the Scottish Arts Council's Children's Book Award. Susan Cooper lives on a saltmarsh island in Massachusetts, and you can visit her online at TheLostLand.com.
Gr 5-7-The charming beginning to Susan Cooper's series of five books, which comprise The Dark Is Rising, belie a series of sinister adventures. The Drew children Simon, Jane, and Barney find an old map in a hidden room while summering at the Grey House in Cornwall. Along with their Great-Uncle Merry, they become embroiled in a web of intrigue that surrounds an Arthurian legend. True to the original story (Harcourt, 1965), this audio version adds a dynamic vocal element from narrator, Alex Jennings. In the beginning the story seems a bit slow and tedious as the plot and setting are given their due, and the voices may be difficult to distinguish. After the first side of tape 1, they become more well defined. Jennings gives each child a distinct voice, yet keeps each connected to one another. Barney has the youthful vulnerability of the youngest sibling, Jane, the sensible and soft-spoken middle child, and Simon speaks with the assurance and bravado of the "older" brother. The rising tension created between the fight of good and evil gives strength and vitality to each character's voice. Listeners understand Mr. Hasting's loathing and fear of Great-Uncle Merry when hearing the deep tone and resonance of every utterance. Jennings' ability is outstanding as he slips in and out of the numerous voices with the rapid dialogue as it approaches the climax. His training and experience as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre give this story a vitality. This is an outstanding reading of a classic tale that all young listeners and adults will thoroughly enjoy.-Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Beautifully told...superbly written." -- "New York Times" on The Dark Is Rising Sequence