A Love Letter to Jim Dale

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The holidays are upon us which means cold weather, warm drinks and traveling. If you are like me and have to travel home for the holidays then you understand the discomfort of finding nothing on the radio, listening to every CD in your car or, if you are in this century, listening to your entire phones music history. Switching between holiday music and calling my out-of-state friends, I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to audio books for my holiday travels. Two year’s ago I decided to start the tradition of listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for my late December trek through the mountains. I was beyond pleased to find that one of the narrators of this beloved holiday story is none other than Jim Dale. Jim Dale is, at least to me, one of the top narrators out there. I have listened to many other audio books both from the library and Overdrive, most of the time the narrators are great however, Jim Dale stands out above the rest. Not only does he have the privilege of being the voice of Harry Potter, but he has narrated other classics such as Peter Pan by J.M Barrie, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and an adult novel titled The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Dale’s voice takes on an almost musical cadence with each new character as he fills them with personality and brings them to life through the speakers. In Harry Potter alone, his ability to switch between the characters as they interact with each other is stunning. Jim Dale is able to create a whole novels world with just his voice and I personally find it magical (no Harry Potter pun intended). My first interaction with Jim Dale was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I have since listened to it many times over, never tiring of Jim Dale’s portrayal of Hagrid, Dumbledore and all of the other HP characters. Some of his other narrations that I have listened to include Peter Pan and The Night circus. Although I could hear similarities in the voices between the different books, each character still had their own nuances. Jim Dale’s sassy voice for Tinker bell was a perfect match to his young boisterous Peter pan. Celia and Marco (two main characters of The Night Circus) have a fierce love for each other despite being competitors in the story. The fact that these two characters are narrated by the same person does not detract from the give and take throughout the novel. I am happy to have Jim Dale as my co-pilot both this Christmas trip and for every subsequent holiday journey.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up; the fairy, Tinker Bell; the evil pirate, Captain Hook; and the three children–Wendy, John, and Michael–who fly off with Peter Pan to Neverland, where they meet Indians and pirates and a crocodile that ticks.  (Goodreads description)

The Night Circus

A fierce competition is underway, a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in “a game,” in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. (NoveList Description)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (Goodreads Description)