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Little Women
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Gr 7-12-Louisa May Alcott's story about the four March sisters who learn the hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War.

How would one describe this latest recording of the classic story from Alcott (Little Men, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/96)? The answer must be, clear, competent, and unexciting. Laura Grafton is a precise reader, but her voice lacks expressiveness, and she makes little attempt to vocally differentiate (and/or animate) the characters. The result is an inoffensive and slightly dull rendering. There's nothing wrong; the tapes just won't grab the attention of the casual listener. The producer has made a praiseworthy attempt to reduce costs by having each cassette side carry double text. At $22.95, this tape set is an excellent value. Unfortunately, this double-track format requires a stereo cassette player with a fully functioning balance control. Most portable cassette players and some car stereo systems do not have this feature. Since, at least anecdotally, a large percentage of recreational audiocassette library borrowers are commuters or exercisers, one should consider whether this format would be used by patrons. Libraries purchasing this format might also consider purchasing (and lending) the associated headphone adaptor plugs. Recommended for libraries with limited audiobook budgets and/or appropriate user populations.ÄI. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ., Ames

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