Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess Audio

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess Audio

Rachel Renee Russell
For ages 9 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Jenni Barber
Simon and Schuster Audio, 2012   ISBN: 978-1442345041

Not long ago, Nikki was performing with her band in the talent show and all was well in her world. Now it is the beginning of December and new adventures await Nikki and her friends. In spite of the fact that Nikki’s little sister told Brandon (Nikki’s secret crush) that Nikki has “hairy legs and crusty eye boogers,” Nikki and Brandon are getting on better than ever. Nikki finds out that Brandon is working as a volunteer at Fuzzy Friends, a local animal rescue shelter, and she is thrilled when he invites her to help him at the shelter after school. What could be better than helping him and playing with the puppies?

Then against her better judgment, Nikki agrees to perform at the Holiday Ice Show with her two best friends. She is convinced that participating in the show is big mistake, but she cannot hold out when her friends beg her to join them in a team effort. The point of the event is to raise money for a local charity, and Nikki decides that Fuzzy Friends would be the perfect charity to support. When she hears that Fuzzy Friends is going to be forced to close, she becomes more determined than ever to do what she can to help.

The pressure on Nikki only increases when she finds out that Brandon’s grandparents and guardians are the owners of Fuzzy Friends, and if the shelter closes, he will have to move away. The problem is that Nikki cannot skate very well. Actually, she skates very badly. Even standing upright is a challenge for her. When her skating inadequacies become all too evident, Nikki wants to bow out of the Holiday Ice Show, but she just can’t. How can she let Brandon, his grandparents, and Fuzzy friends down?

Being a dorky middle schooler is often hard, and in this story we find out that being a dorky middle schooler who is trying to do the right thing is even harder. As we listen to Nikki’s diary entries, we find it challenging not to laugh out loud at the situations Nikki gets into, but at the same time we sympathize with her. Her irrepressible, often irreverent, and incredible honest narrative is refreshing and amusing.

In her performance of this audiobook, Jenni Barber gives Nikki’s character a tone of voice that is genuine, and listeners will find it easy to travel into Nikki’s world.