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Download These Classic Audiobooks For Your Next Family Road Trip

Keep the front seat AND the back seat entertained with these timeless tales that clock in at just the right length for a family road trip.

Nikki Ridgway · about 1 month ago

  • travel

This is a big year for family road trips, whether you’re going for an in-state staycation or heading out for a coast-to-coast adventure. Along with the classic road trip games (like I Spy, the license plate game, and alphabet categories) and a fully-charged iPad, prep for the open road with some great stories the whole family can actually get into.

Download a classic children’s story as an audiobook so the whole family can listen together. We’ve rounded up 7 of our favorites, all available to download on Audible, including a Roald Dahl classic and Peter Pan re-release with an all-star cast.

1. Matilda by Roald Dahl, read by Kate Winslet

Plucky Matilda Wormwood is brought to life in this audio version of Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale read by Oscar winner Kate Winslet. Our gifted heroine teaches herself to read at age three, finishes all the books in the library at age four-and-three-months, and then moves on to mastering the powers of telekinesis to play pranks on her horrid headteacher, Miss Trunchbull.

Kids and adults alike will love the different voices Winslet uses for each of the characters, helping little listeners keep up with who’s who. The audiobook clocks in at just over four hours, making it a great choice for a there-and-back day trip — and a magical introduction (or re-introduction) to one of Dahl's most loved characters.

2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, read by Kelli Winkler

One of the best-selling and most translated children’s books of all time, this new reading of the postwar classic The Little Prince runs just 1 1/2 hours, but inspires enough questions and ideas for a cross-country adventure.

From the narrator’s first encounter with the Little Prince in the Sahara Desert, listeners are swept away to the prince’s home planet and six other interstellar destinations. The hard-to-describe story loops and weaves through big ideas about friendship, love, and growing up, but listeners of all ages will get lost in the big, unforgettable images. It’s perfect escapism for journeys long and short.

3. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, read by Kit Harington, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders and cast

Yes please to this 2020 release of J.M. Barrie’s story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up, his Lost Boys, and the dastardly Captain Hook. This retelling calls on a merry cast of well-known actors, including David Walliams, Joanna Lumley, and Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, to bring Peter, Wendy, Tinkerbell, and friends to life.

Even better, proceeds from sales of the audiobook go directly to the Peter Pan charity in Scotland and the Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London. This slightly abridged version of Barrie’s original novel runs two hours and twenty minutes — just right for a weekend trip — and will be a particular hit with any family members who are deep into the pirate stage.

4. Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, read by Sophia Loren

If you can still hum the tune to Peter and the Wolf from your own childhood, prepare to pass on the earworm to your whole family with this new reading of Sergei Prokofiev’s timeless tale. Read by Sophia Loren, the zippy 25-minute story introduces Peter, his friend the bird, and the fox they catch and then save from a hunter. The music is as much a part of the storytelling as the narration, which makes it ideal for younger listeners and budding musicians of all ages.

5. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, read by Robert Lindsey

Like many of the world’s most cherished children’s stories, Pinocchio has your heart from the first encounter with the famous wooden puppet who longs to be a real boy. This hour-long audiobook stays faithful to the original text, which is sensational and surreal in equal measure, as Pinocchio sets off on his ill-fated adventures with his cricket friend. Get ready for inquisitive minds to ask about the likelihood of living in a whale’s tummy, and cheekier minds to check if lying really does make your nose grow.

6. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, read by Sophie Thompson

Whether you're fans of the original movie or got to know Mary Poppins in the 2018 reboot, there’s nothing like author P.L. Travers’ fantastical novel for getting acquainted with the world’s most beloved nanny. In Mary Poppins’ company, you’ll be whisked away on a “jolly holiday,” dance on rooftops, clean up with the click of your fingers, dive into a cartoon, and learn to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” front and back! This almost-four-hour reading is perfect scooped up in one listen.

7. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, read by Charlton Griffin

An outlandish adventure for when you’ve overdone the screen time and need to find the slower pace, this story of four animal friends living on the riverbank in Edwardian England should be a go-to. Penned by Kenneth Grahame in 1908, this series of charming tales follows Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger as they navigate very human emotions and experiences within their animal kingdom. The epic audiobook version was released in 2020 and clocks in at six hours plus, so charge up the devices and get lost in the tales kids will love, told in language that will keep adults entertained for hours.