*Gordon Korman. War Stories.
Read by Jonathan Todd Ross.
5 CDs. 6.25 hrs.
Recorded Books. 2020. Ages 8+
Listeners of Gordon Korman's War Stories
will follow World War II-obsessed teen Trevor and his 93-year-old veteran great grandfather, GG, as they travel to France. GG has been asked to return to a village he helped liberate 75 years ago to receive an award. Not all of the village's inhabitants are thrilled that he is returning and try to dissuade him with verbal and physical threats. However, GG prevails and shares a part of his journey that softens eyes and hearts toward those who fought so many years ago.
Narrator Jonathan Todd Ross's ability to resurrect characters from across eras and ages, along with genders, is impressive. His main focus is on GG's vocal tones, both as a 17-year-old enlistee and an elderly man reflecting on his past. The younger GG is full of energy and determination and fear and focus, and Ross's efforts highlight each emotion beautifully. The seasoned veteran, on the other hand, is clearly strong and stubborn and tired and remorseful as he shares details of his war years. Again, Ross's tones and pacing are convincing.
Trevor's youthfulness and innocence are evident in Ross's efforts, as well. The boy, who is just five years younger than his great grandfather when he enlisted, sees only glory and bravery in war. His bewilderment is evident as the story progresses. Ross makes the transition believable.
Fortunately, Ross's French accent is beautiful, which bodes well since most of the story takes place in France. He helps listeners fall in love with those involved in the French Resistance in 1944 and the Lafleur descendants in 2020.
Ross has narrated several titles for a variety of authors, including Kate Milford, Bill Nye, and Liliana Hart. He has also lent his voice to the Yu-Gi-Oh!
animation and video game series.Reviewed by Lisa Arnold