Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Audio : Audio Book


Fall 2010 Audio Book
Ages: 8 & Up
CD Price: $29.99

Newbery Honor-winner Kathi Appelt returns with the provocative Keeper. On the surface, Keeper appears to fall under the general umbrella of fantasy literature, complete with dark secrets, magical lineage (in this case, mermaids), a quest, and a hero separated from her biological parents. But the story isn't what it seems. While there are references to symbols and legends, it's also very down-to-earth and accessible. In fact, readers will find there is much less magic involved than they believed. The characters, including ten-year-old Keeper, are worth caring about. Appelt conveys a true sense of loss, love, family, guilt and disappointment, not just in Keeper's tale but in those she knows as well. The story is non-linear because it employs multiple points of view in places, and this may be tricky for younger readers, especially those listening to the audio version. There are some themes as well that make it more suitable for middle-school and up than for younger children. On this recording, Appelt narrates her own story, but there is nothing remarkable about her presentation. Her afterword is a fairly standard talk about the general process of writing; however, she does make an interesting comment about Keeper's name (a fisherman's term for fish big enough to serve his own family) as a metaphor for "what is worthy." In spite of the narration, this is a thought-provoking novel worth listening to together and discussing.

Editors Note: The review above refers to the audio book version of this novel.

Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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