Runner and mother of two from Hove, UK. Relies on good audiobooks to stop the kids from fighting in the car. Occasionally buys one for her.
I bought this as a Halloween listen for the 3 and half hour drive to Bristol - crossing my fingers. We'd listened to a few Eva Ibboston and she doesn't disappoint.
The result was bliss. My boys (aged 5 and 7) were practically silent the whole way, totally wrapped up in the story. There was some cheering, laughing and an "OH NO" from the back at critical moments, but they loved it.
This would be ideal for a Harry Potter fan. A young boy is adopted by a Hag as her familiar, as her toad refuses to do any more magic. The Hag then, unwillingly, is forced to take him on a quest and he ends up in a similar, yet parallel, magical word. All ends happily although, frankly at points, you are left wondering how.
There are some scary moments (like Harry Potter) so I would not recommend this for the very young or nervous types. We listened to it on the motor way in pitch darkness, and the effect was electric. Very spooky!
My local reading library is divided into ability sections. Wild Born was the next level up to books my 8 yr old son is reading, so I thought I'd get the audiobook.
The 4 main characters are 12 years old, so I suppose its aimed at the 8 to 12 yr bracket.My 6 yr old son didn't understand some of the vocabulary ("What's a precipice?" He shouted from the back of the car) but he did enjoy the thrust of the story.
I was not entirely convinced by the narrator - her range of "voices" isn't very wide, but at least she's consistent with them - but the story cracks along at a rapid pace. This was great for us as its the Easter Holidays, and we had quite a few half hour plus drives. How it would've worked for the more stop/start school run I'm not sure. So: mild peril, one death (sensitively handled), children in control, magic superpowers bestowed by a spirit animal (they choose you, not everyone gets one). As soon as it finished, they were begging me to get the next one. Result! Oh and a proper cliff hanger ending. You'll want to have the second book on stand by, just in case.
I had noticed on the library paperback that Scholastic had a computer game to accompany the book (www.spiritanimals.com), so I let the boys on that too. This allows you to choose your hero, bond with your spirit animal and go off on a quest. The combination is dynamite. To get more money etc you need codes from the back of the books in the series. Whilst this is no use with the audiobook, if you had a reluctant reader you were trying to tempt into doing to actual reading, it would definitely be worth a try.
My 6 yr old struggles with the computer game (lots of reading on screen instructions, which bores him after a while). I spotted him in the garden with a green cloak from our dressing up box, attempting to "bond" with one of our cats. It's that kind of a book.
My boys are 7 and a half and 5, so I knew I was pushing it a bit getting this story.
My 5 yr old is well used to listening to "older" stories but this is probably a bit beyond him. He is however loving the idea of a school for BAD people with BAD teachers, and is getting quite a lot of the humour.
My 7 yr old is utterly gripped. When my IPOD crashed halfway through, he insisted on going back to the beginning again (we were 4 hrs through!) and constantly gripes about "getting the story on" the second we get in the car.
It is worth noting that there is mild swearing, although the words were not over emphasised or too aggressive. Annoyingly, my son has copied them. Sigh. There is also violence and peril, but entirely in context. It is, after all, a school for bad people with bad teachers.