By: Adele Colvin; Cover illustrated by Peyton Carmichael
Reviewed by: Sherry Kughn
Pelican Publishing Company, 2009
$19.95, Compact Disk
Several talented Birmingham residents worked together to produce an audio version of Birmingham author Adele Colvin’s two books, The Donkeys’ Tales, first published in 1998 by Crane Hill of Birmingham (and re-released by Pelican Publishing of Gretna, La., in 2008), and The Donkey’s Easter Tale (Pelican Publishing, 2009). The result is a pleasant audio experience of the reading of both books as though they were told by three generations of donkeys who took part in the life of Jesus. Suzanne Mann reads on the CD. Her expressive words are accompanied by soothing guitar music in the background, which sometimes includes flute and organ.
Especially nice are two songs written for the stories, one by Colvin, “The Donkeys’ Tales,” and a new one titled “Among the Blessed” by Three-on-a-String musician Andy Meginniss. Also featured is a harmonica solo of the hymn “Were You There?” played by Dan Marson. The blend of the narration and music, produced by WorkPlay producer Shaun Pezant, may be heard by clicking on the study-guide icon at www.thedonkeystale.com. Peyton Hamilton Carmichael, the books’ illustrator, drew a sleeping donkey for the cover of the recently released CD.
According to a Birmingham News article of Nov. 22, 2008, the first book has been a bestseller in the Birmingham area for ten years. The decision to place the books with a regional publisher should increase future sales and maybe achieve a national bestselling status in the category of juvenile fiction/Christian literature.
The creative nature of the participating individuals extends to the interesting Web site, where parents can download coloring sheets for their youngsters. Better yet, youngsters may do the task for themselves and read about this extensive project, they may see photographs of the individuals who contributed to it and read about them, and they may read from the Donkey Trivia page. Musicians may download the sheet music to the original two songs, and Bible students may download a guide for further Bible study.
According to the delightful Web site, a new book told by a donkey is forthcoming in 2010, The Donkey of Tarsus: His Tales about the Apostle Paul. Parents and children alike may get hooked on the products coming out of this fine project, which showcases the brilliance of this group of Birmingham residents. Dec 2009
Anniston native Sherry Kughn is the author of three books in the Heart Tree Books series for empty-nest moms, and she writes for the advertising department of The Anniston Star and for Longleaf Style magazine.