Inside the Soundscape: The Smart Cookie

Go behind the scenes of the making of "The Smart Cookie" soundscape and meet the voice actors who play each character.

Baking the Soundscape

Have you ever wondered what goes into whipping up a Novel Effect soundscape? Each soundscape follows a similar recipe that blends together interactive music, sound effects, and character voices, but the results are as unique as the stories and characters they bring to life!

When it came time to bake the soundscape for Jory John’s The Smart Cookie, we knew we had to do something extra-special. So, we enlisted the help of Novel Effect users to guest star as voice actors in the soundscape! 

After a worldwide search for the perfect voice actors, we picked 3 talented readers to play the roles of the Donut, the Cupcake, and Ms. Croissant, alongside first-grade teacher Alison Schaejbe as the Smart Cookie.

Each voice actor was tasked with recording their lines at home, making sure to capture multiple variations in tone, volume, intonation, and speed. Then, Novel Effect soundscape designers chose their favorite variation from each actor and mixed these separate voices together to create the perfect blend.

When you read aloud this tasty tale, you’ll find that these reading heroes really rose to the occasion! Sprinkled throughout the soundscape, you’ll hear their voices cheer, chatter, and chuckle to bring each character to life.

Read on to view each guest voice actor’s submission video and get the inside scoop on what it’s like to participate in a Novel Effect soundscape recording!


Meet the Voice Actors

Name: Alyssa Zuravel

Role: the Cupcake

“I love reading books aloud to my students and when I discovered Novel Effect, it was like the app was made for me! When I first started using it with my kids, they would bring me certain books and ask me if I had magic sounds to go with certain titles, and now it is going to be even more special because I get to be a part of the magic!

I did multiple entries because I got to try out different voices but the one that was chosen for the Cupcake was one of the first ones I thought of for her. She is so excited about sharing her invention and I was so excited to be a part of this book… so it all just fit!

The hardest part about the recording was trying to come up with multiple ways to say things each time. And also keeping my dog quiet! It was an absolute blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat! This is absolutely a dream come true!”

Watch Alyssa’s Audition Video

Name: Laura Gordon

Role: the Donut

“I was excited to voice over a book because I love using Novel Effect in my elementary school library. I love watching TikTok, but have never posted anything before…that is until I saw the TikTok requesting a duet for “The Smart Cookie!

I love reading books to my kiddos with voices so I thought I would give it a try. The donut and croissant voices I came up with were ones I heard in my head when I read the book aloud to my Kindergarten classes. I didn’t plan it…it just came out like that! I recorded the soundscapes in a small bedroom closet. I was surprised at how picky I was about how my voice sounded. I did many takes. I thought it would take 10 minutes to do it. But it took me an hour because I wanted to make sure it sounded just right when I played it back.”

Watch Laura’s Audition Video

Name: Jackie Santillan

Role: Ms. Croissant

“Writing children’s books and doing voice acting have always been goals of mine, so this was a really fun experience. I’d love to do it again. I love how engaging books become with Novel Effect and I’m thrilled to know that maybe a few more kids will be able to enjoy this book because of the soundscape. 

It was a little bit of a challenge for me to try to make my voice higher pitched while keeping the same effect. I have a naturally low voice and I wanted to keep it consistent. Overall, the process was easy peasy and super fun and I’m so glad to have been a part of it!”

Watch Jackie’s Audition Video

Open the soundscape for The Smart Cookie

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Open the Soundscape

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