Originally published on amazon on June 25, 2005. My son was 5 and my daughter was 9 at the time I wrote this review (they are now 14 & 17)! A blast from the past, and a lovely memory.
On a recent trip from our home in the Portland area to Boise, Idaho, this was the book that our family -- mom (38), dad (38), daughter (9) and son (5) chose to listen to in the car, so this review is particularly aimed at the audiobook audience.
The book is read by Brendan Fraser, an actor. He does a terrific job of narrating the book, and uses different voices to represent the different characters. Sorrel, the brownie-girl, sounds a whole lot like Shrek, Gravel Beard (a dwarf) sounds remarkably like Yosemite Sam, and Twig Leg sounds like the character from The Princess Bride who is always saying "inconceivable". Mr. Fraser uses his very versatile voice to excellent effect. Sometimes it is a little bit silly, but, hey, silly is good when you are stuck in a car for seven hours at a pop.
The story itself is just plain fun. Dragons, Brownies, Dwarves, and all sorts of funny humans interacting with the fabulous creatures and one another. There is a quest, a challenge, a grand villain, and a great conflict. I am hopeful that at some point Ms. Funke will write a sequel so that we can all enjoy some more of the adventures of this wonderful set of characters.
The whole family enjoyed listening to this book. The miles flew by. We didn't quite finish it before we got home, and within a couple of hours of getting to our house, we were plopped down on our couch to listen to the last forty or so minutes of the book, which is probably the highest praise I can provide. A definite crowd pleaser.