Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Review: Wages Creek by Jeffrey Hickey, Illustrated by Karen Kiser

*****This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.*****

Wages Creek is an interesting story of a family trip that was taken to a campground in Northern California during the spring of ‘94. Jeffrey Hickey (the author) tells the story. He catches a cold during the trip and closes his eyes. He starts listening to noises from the creek. Is what he experiences soon after that a dream? He meets three ducks that turn his day around. Shlomo and Esmerelda are two of the ducks; they want to get married. The third duck, Gilbert, is Esmerelda’s father. He is not so approving of their relationship though because Shlomo is different to him. Jeffrey tries to help Shlomo and Esmerelda by encouraging Gilbert to approve of their potential marriage, but he learns that it is going to take more than that.

Wages Creek is meant to be read with the music that was created specifically for this story, although it is great for reading without the music, also. The duck sounds that Jeffrey makes will cause a lot of children to giggle! There is also beautiful artwork included in the book from Karen Kiser, Jeffrey’s wife.

In my opinion, Jeffrey Hickey did a great job with the music and all the different voices from the storytelling on the CD that I was sent to use while reviewing this book. His voice was very calming and I could feel some of the words as he spoke them often; he also did a great job of expressing emotion with the different characters. The audio CD had two versions included on it. They were the storytelling version with Jeffrey Hickey with music included, and the version with only the music. Both versions were great but I recommend listening to the storytelling version first because there are pauses in the storytelling and the music moves along with the story.

I found when listening to the storytelling version of the audio CD (while reading along in the book) that the audio differed from the printed version occasionally, which shouldn’t matter if people reading the book are not using the audio. I took it into consideration that I might have received kind of an advanced reader’s copy, since I learned from the author that there is another printed version that differed from the copy I was sent.

The artwork would be great to show to children in the book as the audio storytelling version is used, as well as when the story is read from an in person storyteller. There are color and black and white drawings to explain the story as it unfolds. The color pictures often take up a whole page, while the black and white drawings (stamp art images) are smaller and used between the words. Both types of artwork do a great job of bringing the story alive visually.

Children will enjoy following along with the audio and reading this story on their own.  I think that this book also would be great to read to children aloud. It might fit in nicely to be read before or during summer break, and especially while children are at camp.

My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of material connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bostick Communications / Jeffrey Hickey. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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