Adventures with Claudie

Listening Library. (American Girl: Historical Character: Claudie: Bk. 2). Jun. 2023. 138p. $14. ISBN 9780593684603.
Gr 4 Up–Lauded adult novelist Bennett grew up reading "American Girl" books and was particularly interested in Civil War–era Addy Walker. Bennett tweeted in 2020 about wanting to write another Black girl—serendipitously, American Girl responded. Since then, Bennett has authored two Claudie titles set during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. In Book 2, nine-year-old Claudie takes a road trip with Mama and Cousin Sidney in his Model T to visit Grandma in Shellman, GA. Mingled with familial joy are also sobering reminders of why journalist Mama left the deep South. Grandma’s retelling of a traditional story, “The People Could Fly,” inspires Claudie to create the perfect finale for the upcoming variety show back home. Versatile Small has settled as Bennett’s voice-of-choice, having narrated her latest adult title and now both Claudie installments.
VERDICT Small’s versatile accents and rhythms guarantee a dramatic performance; her recitation as Claudie’s mother recalling a lynching to her young daughter is exceptionally haunting.

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