Each week I listen to Escape Pod, a podcast of short science fiction and fantasy. The stories are excellent, the readings are high quality, and each episode tends to be about as long as my afternoon commute. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing an episode, definitely give them a try. Best of all, each and every show is Creative Commons licensed, which means you’re free to listen to it and share it with friends.
Last October, Escape Pod tried something a little bit different. Squonk the Dragon, a humorous take on dragons, wizards, and adoption by P. M. Butler, was more for kids than adults. It still had those high Escape Pod standards, though, and I loved the result. Squonk’s story (gently) introduces such essential geek concepts as "dragon", "wizard", "kung fu", and "nontraditional family", with a compelling storyline and great characters.
After listening to it myself, I burned an audio CD of the story and presented it to the Geeklet, age 3. He loved it immediately and has asked for it regularly ever since. The Squonk stories might be over the head of the very youngest children, but the Geeklet took to it without much explanation. (He doesn’t seem to be alone. At the site, one two-year-old commented, "Birdy no get dragon baby. Birdy get birdy baby!") Like any good children’s story, it can be enjoyed at many levels, even without getting the humor. Just recently the sequel, Squonk the Apprentice, was released, and that’s already joined the original story on an expanded CD. We hope there will be many more.