Reviews for Navigating Early

AudioFile Reviews 2013 March
The triple narration of this novel by Newbery Medalist Vanderpool is stunning. When Kansas native Jack Baker finds himself at a Maine boarding school after his mother's death, everything is new yet full of connections to his former life. A new friendship with student Early Auden sweeps Jack into a mathematical journey and a quest in the Maine wilderness. Robbie Daymond's voice is as raw as Jack's feelings of loss. He trails off and leaves unsettling pauses as Jack questions his surroundings yet provides a firm tone as Jack navigates both physical dangers and new relationships. Daymond gives Early all the awkward bluntness one would expect from "that strangest of boys." Narrators Cassandra Campbell and Mark Bramhall provide portrayals of the story's many other memorable characters--ruffians, a reclusive woodsman, a military father, an ancient woman, and an older brother, presumed lost. A.R. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 5-8--When his mother unexpectedly passes away and his father returns from serving in World War II, Jack Baker's life is turned upside down. He's moved from his home in Kansas to a boy's boarding school in Maine. He meets a unique boy named Early Auden who has an obsession with pi, seeing an unending story in the mathematically significant number. Caught up in their own sorrows, the boys take a chance during a school break to head off on a quest along the Appalachian Trail. Early's telling of the pi story seems to oddly mirror the strange characters and happenings that the boys encounter in their journey. This is a journey of loss, discovery, and deep-rooted friendship and love. Robbie Daymond, the primary reader of Vanderpool's tale (Delacorte, 2013), does an excellent job of capturing the mood of the story--whether it is the youthful joy of two young boys on an adventure or the somber moments of facing real heartache. His pacing and volume are spot-on throughout the telling, keeping listeners fully engaged. When the story transitions to that of young Pi, Mark Bramhall takes over the narration. The first time this occurs it is a little jarring as listeners move from the mesmerizing voice of Daymond to Bramhall's bold theatrical tones. After the first transition, however, listeners will know what to expect and will appreciate the clear distinction between the boy's story and the mythical tale of Pi. Cassandra Campbell narrates a brief but interesting segment at the end of the presentation informing listeners which parts of the story are fact and which are fiction. A winner, especially for older middle schoolers.--Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Public Library.UT

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