Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: Deep in the Swamp

Deep in the Swamp is a musical picture book! This title is also a 2015 Audie nomination for the Children's Titles for Ages up to 8 category.

Author Donna M. Bateman used the familiar song Over in the Meadow and created a book focused on the Okefenokee Swamp located in Georgia and Florida. The story counts up to 10 and includes critters, creatures, flora, and fauna. I was familiar with a few things mentioned in the book, but definitely not everything! A couple verses sounded a bit Seussical to me because of my unfamiliarity with the nature in the Southern part of the United States. (I am from the northern part of the Midwest.) All in all it was a great singing story! It's simple tune could be followed by children (and adults). If they are familiar with the song, they can anticipate what's happening next. I appreciated the extra information at the end of the book, Swap Flora and Fauna Facts.

Live Oak Media and Tom Chapin created a beautiful audio CD to go along with the book. The CD has three tracks:

1 - Narration with page turn signals (including story, song, and back matter)
2 - Narration with no page turn signals (including story, song, and back matter)
3 - "Deep in the Swap" song

The page turn signal is not a beep or ding; it's the sound of a page being turned. The narration is playful and smooth. Chapin has a deep voice, but he's lighthearted as he reads the story. The timing is well done. It can be followed on the page or just enjoyed without the book. I greatly appreciated the back matter being narrated. Not every book includes the facts in the back. Knowing the story is also a song begs for it to be sung. The story is narrated, but the song is included which is so much fun! Live Oak Media also added layers of sound effects, music, and voice duplication. The sound effects and music underneath were very subtle and did not take away, but added to the book's ambiance of the swamp. The voice duplication is the layers of animal children when they reply to their parent. As the count goes up, so do the number of voices being heard. It was an unexpected and delightful element of the narration.

I would recommend this title to any elementary or pre-school child and family. It's a fun book packed in information about the Okefanokee swamp. It's also beautifully crafted with a talented narrator and layers of sound to tickle the ear.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details ...
Deep in the Swamp by Donna M. Bateman, illustrated by Brian Lies
Read by Tom Chapin
Produced by Live Oak Media
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time:  17 minutes, 12 seconds (track 1)
ISBN: 9781430114604   

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