Navigating Early

Navigating Early

Audiobook CD - 2013
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At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boys' boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.
Publisher: New York : Listening Library/Random House Audio, [2013]
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9780385361040
Branch Call Number: CD J Vand
Characteristics: 6 sound discs (440 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.


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Sep 24, 2014

We listen to audio book to and from school, which is only about 5-7 min each way. We like the story very much. My 8 year old said that she can't wait to hear the rest of it. We are currently listening to disc 5 out of 7. The story captured the essence of loneliness, bravery, adventures, and how to cope with all of them in the absence of parental advice.

JCLChrisK Mar 24, 2014

In many ways, I feel this review could simply repeat what I said in the last review I wrote, for Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan: that it is a lovely book about kids that may not so much be for kids; that it will, unfortunately, appeal more to adult readers than the target audience. The fact that it was an honor book not for the Newbery Award for children but for the Printz Award for teens is a good indication of that appeal, I think.
The book has many ingredients that could give it adventurous appeal: an epic quest in the wilderness, encounters with bears and rattlesnakes, dangerous pirates, odd personalities discovered in the backwoods, boating and athletic challenges, and more. Yet the adventure is filtered through Jack's relationship with his friend Early and the mutual grieving that they are both suffering through after losing significant family members. Early is a high-functioning, savant autistic with synesthesia--to him, numbers have colors, scents, sounds, emotions, and more--and he is obsessed with the mythical tale being told by the numbers of Pi as he calculates them to further and further decimal places. He believes the tale will lead him to his older brother who died in the war. These aspects are, as I said, lovely, and wonderfully crafted, deep, nuanced, allegorical, and healing for the two boys (and their families), but they just aren't all that--for lack of a better word--fun. It's a thoughtful and moving story; it's not so much an adventurous and compelling one. I enjoyed it. Will younger readers? I'm not sure.

Dec 27, 2013

It seemed poorly read & not believable to me. Might have been better to read rather than audio.

Nov 22, 2013

Though this is a "J" book, I think it would appeal to middle schoolers as well as adults! Clare Vanderpool is a fabulous storyteller, weaving together the stories of loss, longing and discovery of these two boys, Early and Jack-one searching for his brother and the other feeling the loss of his mother. The narrator of the story of Pi threw me a little-I would like to see this book in print to see how it was presented. I was never quite sure who was supposed to be telling the story, but possibly I missed something in the listening! The conclusion of the story was perfectly constructed, bringing everything together in such a mystical, beautiful way. I had several "driveway moments" of not wanting to leave my car.

May 30, 2013

Unique portrayal of loss through the eyes of Jack and Early as they journey to find their beloved mom and brother respectively. Early's literal interpretations are laugh out loud funny. I loved the incorporation of math in the form of the elusive pi that tied the whole story together a brilliant touch. I love that young readers have a wonderful fiction story laced with a mathematical concept that should increase their IQs two-fold.

It's hard to believe one reader can do all these voices! What a delight this book is on audio. It's a fun adventure, a coming of age story and a sensitive portrayal of boyhood friends.


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