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David Pittu is known for his narration of children's mystery series. "It must be something that comes through from my childhood because I always loved mysteries when I was a kid. I read Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie. Each one entertained you and let you escape."
Pittu, who has narrated seven of Ron Roy's A-Z mysteries, uses a voice that may remind listeners of the suspenseful intonation of Rod Serling, an actor Pittu loved as a child.
In the A-Z series Pittu creates tension but also gives these simple mysteries the comfort that new readers need. "You never want to be too sad, or too scary, or too weird."
Pittu has recently begun narrating the 39 Clues series for Scholastic. The ten-book series is linked to game cards and prizes that can yield up to $100,000. And there are literary and listening prizes as well. The books are written by 10 of children's favorite authors; the first two were by Rick Riordan and Gordon Korman. Pittu will read all of them.
The new series is complex and lets Pittu get more involved in character depth. The series features a pair of orphaned siblings who compete with a host of greedy relatives (all of whom are related to Benjamin Franklin) to collect 39 clues from around the world. Their adventures are fast paced and full of surprises. Pittu notes, "The books share the timeless qualities of mystery and adventure that appeal to kids no matter what.
"The series," Pittu says, "has some nice emotional pulls. For example, the heroes, Amy and Dan, are doing something for a good cause, not just because they want the money. And children get to learn things along the way about history, art, and different countries."
Knowing that he's narrating the whole series gives Pittu a sense of ownership of the characters. "I love the evil English twins, Ian and Natalie. There's nothing more fun than portraying little English brats. And I love the Russian adult cousin who chases Amy and Dan around. Of course, they escape because of their cleverness." Pittu remarks that this is the thing that always works for successful sleuths. "We want to see their ingenuity, not success based on their use of technology, or anything else."
Pittu says that while there's some variety in the styles of the different authors participating in the series, he's amazed at the consistency of the books. "The writers have really done their homework. I've never come across anything that seems out of character.
"Ultimately, the person who has to answer for everything is the writer," Pittu says. "I just have to be excited about doing each book. And I am!"--Susie Wilde
Photo by Scott Sherratt
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