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Having become seriously bored with listening to the Harry Potter books over and over again, Oliver Nicholas decided to look into alternative audio books to keep children happy during the long summer holiday journeys

Night Monkey Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson and read by Imelda Staunton (age 3+) 

Written by a Smarties Booker Prize winner and the author of the much loved Gruffalo, this book has been recently re-released with an accompanying audio CD. The story explores the difference between night and day through the eyes of two monkeys. The rhyme and rhythm of the narrative will captivate young children and they will love the vibrant pictures of the book. 

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and read by Bill Oddie (age 5+) 

An old classic that is also to be re-released this summer with an accompanying audio CD read, in his own unforgettable style, by Bill Oddie. When I was young, I loved the story of “Plop” the barn owl who overcomes his fear of the dark through his encounters with various people including a young boy waiting for the fireworks to begin, a scout out camping, a girl who tells him about Father Christmas and a black cat who takes him exploring. This story has not lost any of its magic over the last 40 years. 

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz and read by Oliver Chris (age 8+) 

The first in the Alex Rider series sees Alex, a fourteen yearold boy, recruited into MI6 after the suspicious death of his uncle. Following SAS training and equipped with some amazingly inventive gadgets, he sets off on his first mission; to discover the truth behind an eccentric billionaire’s gift of the Stormbreaker computer to every school in the UK. This audio book will keep both girls and boys enthralled and excited, even if they have already read the book and seen the film and, as the first in a series, it promises to keep them silent for many long journeys. 

Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Book 1 by Michelle Paver and read by Ian McKellan (age 10-13) 

Ian McKellan adds a wonderful atmosphere to the already fantastical but believable world that Michelle Paver has created and loved by so many. The story follows Torak, a young boy living in a world of hunter-gatherers, tribes, mountains, forests, bears and un-earthly superstitions. A world of six-thousand years ago that is recognisable but a million miles away from the world of today. Following the death of his father from wounds inflicted by a giant possessed bear, Torak sets out on a quest to find the mythical mountain of the world spirit as instructed by father on his deathbed. Along the way he makes friends with a wolf cub with whom, for some reason due to his past that he cannot quite remember, he can communicate with. He also makes friends with a headstrong and feisty girl called Renn. Both the wolf cub and Renn play a large part in the rich, descriptive story in this audio book; a story that continues in a further three audio books, with another set for publication in September.