Baker’s Magic

by Diane Zahler
Published by LiveOak Media
Children's Literature, Full Cast Productions (Actor)

AudioFile Earphones Award

A full cast works together seamlessly in this charming magical adventure. As the story’s narrator, Tavia Gilbert is crisply engaged, and she’s spirited as young Bee, the baker’s apprentice. Kenneth Cavett, with his rich and resonant voice, is a standout as kindly baker Master Bouts, and Robin Miles is a hoot as pirate captain Zafira Zay. The care in the production is evident—the rest of the cast adds vocal personality to characters both large and small, and mood-appropriate snippets of music begin and end each chapter, helping to sweep listeners along. Scenes in the bakery are rendered with as much attention to detail as those on the high seas or in the mage’s castle—beware of listening while hungry. AudioFile Magazine

 

This full cast-production is truly the best way to enjoy Zahler’s latest magical adventure. Gilbert as Bee, our narrator, leads with self-assurance and spirit. Bee’s theft of a bun from Master Bout’s bakery results in an unexpected apprenticeship. Master Bout’s deep, gentle voice coaxes Bee out of her shell to reveal hidden magical talents. Bee’s emotive baking talent evokes a strong response from Master Bout, whose surprised shock quickly changes to admiration and glee. Bee’s ability to infuse emotions into her baked goods boosts the bakery’s popularity, earning the attention of the pastry-loving mage, Master Joris, who holds Princess Anika captive. In every detail, this performance exceeds expectations. Stephen DeRosa as Master Joris drips arrogance through every pore, Robin Miles is masterful in creating eccentric yet lovable pirates Captain Zafira and Haleem, and Elisabeth Rodgers captures the otherworldliness of the moss maiden, Ying-Tao, with shimmery half whispers. The many narrators work together seamlessly to produce wholly believable characters and suffuse them with deep emotions. Chapters whiz by at high speed, capturing each development with passion and energy. The musical interludes heralding the many twists and turns, and the delicious recipe for the infamous Bout’s Buns at the end, will leave listeners hungry for more. Booklist