- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 0820 (What's this?)
- Series: The Dark Is Rising Sequence
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 141694964X
- ISBN-13: 978-1416949640
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (846 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark Is Rising Sequence) Paperback – May 8, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-The charming beginning to Susan Cooper's series of five books, which comprise The Dark Is Rising, belie a series of sinister adventures. The Drew children Simon, Jane, and Barney find an old map in a hidden room while summering at the Grey House in Cornwall. Along with their Great-Uncle Merry, they become embroiled in a web of intrigue that surrounds an Arthurian legend. True to the original story (Harcourt, 1965), this audio version adds a dynamic vocal element from narrator, Alex Jennings. In the beginning the story seems a bit slow and tedious as the plot and setting are given their due, and the voices may be difficult to distinguish. After the first side of tape 1, they become more well defined. Jennings gives each child a distinct voice, yet keeps each connected to one another. Barney has the youthful vulnerability of the youngest sibling, Jane, the sensible and soft-spoken middle child, and Simon speaks with the assurance and bravado of the "older" brother. The rising tension created between the fight of good and evil gives strength and vitality to each character's voice. Listeners understand Mr. Hasting's loathing and fear of Great-Uncle Merry when hearing the deep tone and resonance of every utterance. Jennings' ability is outstanding as he slips in and out of the numerous voices with the rapid dialogue as it approaches the climax. His training and experience as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre give this story a vitality. This is an outstanding reading of a classic tale that all young listeners and adults will thoroughly enjoy.
Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Beautifully told...superbly written." -- New York Times on The Dark Is Rising Sequence
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Top customer reviews
I am happy to report that, at least for me, this audio version gets high marks across the board.
First, I can hear it and understand it. No mushy sound recording. No odd imbalance in volume that requires you to keep turning the volume up and then down. All of the spoken words are crisp and clear.
Second, there are no sound effects or such folderol.
Third, there is a single reader. This is not a play for voices and is not read by a number of different character actors.
Fourth, Alex Jennings is a marvelously effective reader. His approach is dynamic but not overly dramatic. He is never coy or arch, and does not ham up any of the big scenes. In the first chapters he can be a bit tentative in distinguishing among the major characters and is inclined to give short shrift to minor characters, but after that he settles into the various roles and adds a distinct and recognizable identity to each character.
Finally, the reading is very respectful. By that I mean the book is not read as though it were just some silly children's book. It is treated as the triumphant work that it is and this adds greatly to its weight and impact.
Please note that there are 7 discs. Runtime is a bit under nine hours.
The focus this time is no longer on the three Drew children, but on Will Stanton, the youngest of nine children, living in Buckinghamshire. On his 11th birthday, strange events begin to whirl about him as his small village is beset by a winter storm of historic proportions, animals become frightened and wary around him, and he can't walk past a radio without it breaking into screeches of incoherent static. Worse than these odd, but ultimately non-threatening issues however, is the sense of deep dread that is descending on his home, and dire warnings that beings called The Walker and The Rider are abroad in the countryside.
Will soon learns that he is no ordinary boy, and that he has a major role to play in a cosmic battle that has raged since man first began to walk the earth. Beset by supernatural enemies, but aided by fierce allies and his own courage, Will must complete a quest that will keep the Dark from rising.
The first book in "The Dark is Rising" sequence, "Over Sea, Under Stone," was originally written as a one-off, but Ms. Cooper returned to the core ideas of that story and used it as a launching point for a more expansive arc, which begins here. "The Dark is Rising" was a Newbery Honor Book when it was first published, and deservedly so; beautifully written, it is a classic of the genre, with well-composed characters, a sense of wonder, and enough dread based on old English and Celtic mythology to make for a gripping read.