It’s painfully clear we’re a week out from Christmas at the library: all the books are in (except the Christmas books, we still have a fair number but they’re starting to look picked over) and the audio books and videos are flying out the door.

People have already begun to travel and parents are valiantly trolling the books on cd, trying to find something that will a) not drive them crazy and b) keep the older children engaged while c) still be appropriate for the three year old. I’m trying to hover with intent a little more by those shelves than usual. There’s the various differences in families: age of the youngest child, fantasy v. non-fantasy, series v. non-series…but those are the general parameters.

Audiobooks have greatly increased in popularity, which I think is fantastic. I listened to George Guidall every night in high school, to the point that it was an instant sleep-inducer for the Incredibly-Patient-Mother for a few years thereafter. And yes, I order the kids/teens audiobooks and it’s nice to see my collections circulate. Keep in mind I’m trying not to whine about the fact that the fabulous new chapter books that are coming down from tech services are languishing….

With the acceptance that audiobooks are not just something for people with poor vision and the wonderful quality and variety we’re seeing of performers and titles, it makes sense that there are some followings of narrators. Among the most recognizable of these is Jim Dale.

Two years ago, if I mentioned the name Jim Dale, someone usually swooned in my presence. No matter the subject previous, I would then be treated to a glowing review of how wonderful he was, how fabulous the HP books were on audio, and how their entire family had listened to those books together. Anything he’d read flew out the door as families coming to the end of book 7 sought something else to appease their ears.

Today I came past my display of new audio books and noticed, not for the first time, that our copy of The Return to the Hundred Acre Woods by David Benedictus is still sitting there. Despite the allure of the sequel to a popular classic and being brought to life by no less than the venerable Jim Dale and being displayed face out on the top shelf of the display area (where other things are going quite nicely)…it’s there, wistfully waiting to be popped into someone’s “car bag” and taken along.

Wonder if that will change in the next couple of full court press “we need something for the drive to Grandma’s” days…