Kids, usually regardless of their age, love being read to (some adults can appreciate this as well, which is why there is a market for audio books). There’s something comforting about hearing a soothing voice tell an entertaining story. Mark Binder is an author who understands this and uses it to his advantage, releasing an audio book that makes his stories feel alive.
Transit Joy! is an audio storytelling experience that is suitable for both children and adults, regardless of age. The 12 tracks from Mark Binder feature 10 fantastic and humorous stories bookended by an intro and outro. I find Binder’s voice incredibly soothing, though I can’t quite figure out what it is about it that I like so much. It has a nice tone — I picture a typical dad reading bedtime stories to his child, complete with voices and songs that increase its entertainment value. He’s decent with character voices. He doesn’t do anything outlandish voicewise, which makes the words seem sincere. It is obvious that he is reading these stories to give listeners a fun experience with which they can identify.
Each story is a worthy children’s tale, full of valuable life lessons cleverly wrapped in entertainment. Binder is a master of bringing these stories to life, and he filled my head with vivid visuals. I found myself getting lost in the storytelling, at the edge of my seat waiting to hear how each will conclude.
My two favorites are “Og First Story,” which goes into how the first story was ever told back in the caveman days (Og made up a tale to tell his wife instead of telling her the truth about why he didn’t bring home an elephant for dinner) and “Why I Tell Stories,” which is Binder giving listeners an inventive taste of something that no longer exists, providing a reminder that stories create a world that reality can’t. While I found “Mr. Boring” silly in a clever way, and enjoyed how Binder gave listeners the idea to make their own similar stories, I felt that this was his weakest story overall, but it is still more than worth a listen.
Binder makes use of some sound effects, though they are mostly done with his own voice, and some tracks start and end with music. His sound effects — whether a slurping noise or inaudible blabber — all add so much to the stories and truly bring them to life. Most importantly, the amount of fun he is having reciting these stories is evident.