Monday, October 1, 2018

Middle Grade Monday and Audio Review: Black Panther: the young prince by Ronald L. Smith

Black Panther: the young prince by Ronald L. Smith. Unabridged audiobook on five compact discs. 5 hours, 45 minutes. Read by Dion Graham. Listening Library, January, 2018. 9780525531319. (Review from finished copy borrowed from public library. Own print copy.)

I must state up front I am totally ignorant in that I have not seen the movie, Black Panther, nor am I familiar with the comic. I have no idea how faithful to the character and canon this story is, but it's an engaging one. This book focuses on young T'Challa. He's twelve and living the life in Wakanda, training and messing around with his best friend, M'Baku. T'Challa's father, the Black Panther, sends him and M'Baku to Chicago for their protection when danger threatens Wakanda. The two are to keep their citizenship and identity a secret and support each other while attending middle school. 

The boys are thrust head-first into American culture and middle school complete with cliques, sports and bullies. M'Baku soon comes under the thrall of Gemini Jones and T'Challa befriends nerdy kids, Zeke and Sheila. There may or may not be a mysterious stranger following them. 

This was a fast-paced adventure featuring a soon-to-be super-hero as a teen facing what many teens face - the need to belong and fit in - in addition to being thoughtful about his destiny. The audiobook was narrated by a favorite - Dion Graham, but I was a bit disappointed. His delivery was very, very breathy. Distractingly breathy. Perhaps even a bit over-the-top with his staccato delivery. Once I distanced myself from that distraction and ignored a couple of, "Really?" moments in the plot, I decided that the target audience will enjoy this adventure. 

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