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Gone West

Gone West: Bold Adventures of American Explorers and Pioneers

Written and told by Jim Weiss
Greathall Productions Inc., $14.95, ages 5 and up, http://www.facebook.com/Greathall

1124-045If you think Lewis and Clark are a comedy team from the ‘50s and learned everything you know about Sacagawea watching Night at The Museum, it’s time to pop in the new CD Gone West: Bold Adventures of American Explorers and Pioneers.

Follow the entertaining and informative narrative from master storyteller Jim Weiss and share Jefferson and Monroe’s excitement at creating a country destined to span from coast to coast. Marvel at the mix of bold pioneer spirit, strong survival skills and a lot of sheer luck that grew the U.S. westward, and revisit a time when amazing adventures and discoveries lay around every bend.

Learn how clever U.S. diplomatic negotiations garnered not only New Orleans, but the entire area known as Louisiana from Napoleon, and how the Lewis and Clark expedition succeeded with the help of various native nations. Meet the men who braved danger and backbreaking work to build the thousands of miles of track for the Transcontinental Railway, and find out how Robert Fulton’s steamboat forever changed the way Americans traveled and did business. This enlightening CD will turn your next car trip into your very own covered wagon journey whether or not you’re heading up north to Oregon. Giddyup!

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Beware The Ides of March

A Storyteller’s Version of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,
and The Story of Rome
, as told by Jim Weiss on CD
$13.45, www.greathall.com, ages 7 to adult
1124-44Beware the Ides of March. From Jim Weiss, winner of countless awards for his unparalleled storytelling, come some excellent additions to the Greathall collection. Weiss has a way of drawing listeners into a story and keeping them thoroughly entertained, and my husband and I are delighted when listening pulls our kids away from less educational electronic distractions. I can’t think of a better introduction to this timeless tragedy by Shakespeare than hearing it brought to life by Weiss with a variety of voice characterizations that keep the story moving. Weiss weaves excerpts from Julius Caesar in such a seamless fashion that kids will think they’ve read the entire classic. The Story of Rome includes background information to help set the scene for Julius Ceasar which follows, and is full of interesting anecdotes and facts I never learned in school. The CD ends with an epilogue called “What Happened Afterward.” There’s no better way to pass a long car journey with children than with Jim Weiss as your companion.

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