School Trip

HarperAudio. (New Kid: Bk. 3). Apr. 2023. 241p. $27.99. ISBN 9780063279124.
Gr 3-7–Audiences who enjoyed Craft’s New Kid and Class Act as audiobooks might immediately notice an important cast change—Tarrant replaces Jesus Del Orden, who voiced Jordan in the previous titles. The kids are indeed a bit older here (although they’re still in eighth grade), which means Tarrant’s deeper tones might indicate Jordan’s adolescent voice change. The rest of the most familiar cast members (yay to Bullock returning as Drew) gratefully remains the same. Listening is undoubtedly thorough entertainment; the usual Riverdale Academy Day School kids head to Paris for artistic, social, emotional enlightenment, complete with appropriate sound effects and expected accents. Listening, however enjoyable, can’t quite provide the multilayered, impressively illuminating experience that won Craft the Newbery Medal: to see the deftly enhancing images is impossible with only the ears, such as the open passports that immediately suggest the diversity of the kids’ backgrounds before the narrative even begins, or who exactly is sitting in the headmaster’s office? Indeed, Craft’s pictures do contain thousands of silent words.
VERDICT For a thoroughly immersive read, choose the page and the audio.

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