a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Jul, 2008

road stories

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Photography

This is going to be the Summer of the Road Trip. In preparation, I’ve been doing a casual search for some prerecorded storytelling for a few of the longest highway stretches.

I was originally going to download a copy of the first Harry Potter off iTunes, but it’s $40, a little rich for us right now. So I’m looking for free. So far I found a lovely reading of Alice in Wonderland, but other than that I’ve come up dry.

It’s easy to find podcasts of stories, but it’s much harder to find ones that I’d be willing to listen to for a few hours in a row. I’ve realized that the word “free” most often means “nonprofessional narrator.”

Any ideas out there?

We have just returned from our one-night-camping trip. The girls loved it. I didn’t bring the inflatable mattress (against Mark’s better advice) and lived to regret it.

Despite my restless sleep, it always amazes me that camping can be so fulfilling.

 tiny toad

wave jumping

superhero on the beach

baby acorns




the sky at Silver Lake

17 Responses to "road stories"

1 | Jenn

July 11th, 2008 at 8:49 am


Check out your library website. Many now offer downloadable audiobooks. I haven’t tried it yet myself but seems to be what you might be looking for.

2 | porter

July 11th, 2008 at 9:00 am


now that looks like fun, almost makes me think camping will be fun!!! i hope our trip will be like that.

i can’t help you with audiobooks…we are still listening to robert munsch.

3 | andrea

July 11th, 2008 at 9:02 am


It’s my understanding that you can’t burn library audiobooks to CD. Titles actually expire.

4 | andrea

July 11th, 2008 at 9:06 am


Correction! Some titles can be burned to CD! Hmmm.

5 | Vicki

July 11th, 2008 at 9:25 am


Try the CNIB – I’ve been seeing advertisements on television promoting their audio books. (I did a quick search on the site and the CNIB does have Harry Potter in Audio Book format.)

6 | Cath

July 11th, 2008 at 9:25 am


We typically just take books on CD out of the library for road trips home to PEI — Bill Bryson is awesome for that.

7 | Leah

July 11th, 2008 at 9:35 am


1-2-3 Listen to me… you can find it on i-tunes. All four of us loooove it.

9 | Nicol

July 11th, 2008 at 9:40 am


Here is one option, go to the library and get books on CD then rip them onto your computer. From there you can put them onto your ipod.

10 | Laura

July 11th, 2008 at 9:48 am


‘Stories from the Vinyl Cafe’ narrated by Stuart McLean himself are quite good. They can be borrowed from the library on Audio book CD.

11 | Lynn

July 11th, 2008 at 3:33 pm


I love this series of camping photos. They’re all gorgeous, interested, and well framed. The two beach photos are my favourites, though :).

You’ve inspired me to try to take better photos of our kids — nothing in the professional slant, just pretty pictures that are better quality than our little point and shoot can take. As of today I’m the proud owner of a new SLR camera. Should only take a year or two for me to learn how to use it :).

12 | The Veg Next Door

July 11th, 2008 at 8:10 pm


Love the pics, especially the superhero on the beach. You should enter that in a contest.

I have nothing to offer re: books on tape/CD. Hubby listened to one when he had his eye surgery and it would literally put me to sleep. So boring.

13 | andrea

July 11th, 2008 at 8:18 pm


Veg: see, it’s the quality of the narrator! Some people are sleepers.

We have a great Dr. Seuss Fox in Sox CD. The girls never tire of listening to it (although we do) and we do own a double-CD of the Vinyl Cafe Stories (I recommend) but am still open to new stuff… especially if it’s free. ;)

p.s. I did a test download from the Ottawa library and was listening to Farenheit 451 today. It was pretty good.

14 | Julie

July 12th, 2008 at 8:16 am


While our children are a little younger than yours, we have listed to the Magic Tree House series on CD (from the library). They’re very interesting and you’ll learn a few things too. Also very good is a series of three books called My Father’s Dragon – also on CD with the library. The girls would like it I think.

Something else you might enjoy – John Lithgow music is fun and witty. Sometimes you can get it through the library, but I bet iTunes will have it too.

15 | The Veg Next Door

July 12th, 2008 at 2:55 pm


I agree that the narrator makes a huge difference.

Speaking of storytelling, Robert Munsch is coming to Centrepointe Theatre in the fall. Not sure if your girls like his stories. I wonder if there will ever be a time when I’ll read Love You Forever and not cry…

16 | AlisonG

July 12th, 2008 at 8:42 pm


I go through library CDs like crazy. I rip them to my computer and download them to my iPod, and when I’m done listening, I delete them. I don’t see how else they expect you to listen to 9-15 hours of audio in three weeks!

My suggestion is “The Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. Ottawa Library has it on CD.

17 | AlisonG

July 12th, 2008 at 8:43 pm


P.S. “The Hatchet” is narrated by Peter Coyote, and I can personally attest that it’s top-notch.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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