Author: Kym Kurey
A friendly old farmer discovers friendship, faith and second chances as a bag of talking seeds takes Finney on an incredible adventure! Join our beloved Finney, as he and his new friends conquer fear, peer pressure, disappointment, and failure, all along the path to success and ultimately fulfilling their dreams.
Reviewer: Patricia Ann Timbrook
Author Kym Kurey weaves the theme to choose wisely in her 12-chapter children’s book, FINNEY AND THE TALKING SEEDS. The story begins with farmer Finney and his friendly relationship with school children; however, we never read about that anywhere else in the book because the relationship shifts to Farmer Finney and the Talking Seeds.
While her choice of words, such as widow and interfere fall into Text Readability Calculator’s fifth-grade level, the length of sentences enter an adult’s reading level. While Finney’s length allows for chapters or breakups of long texts, Ms. Kurey’s structure strays from today’s strict writing guidelines for chapter books: strict use of vocabulary, specific reading levels, proper use of language and grammar, and, ultimately, a book’s salability. However, by using one’s own publishing company, (Kurey’s being, Fun in the Sun), most of those guidelines and qualifications can be alleviated, and the story gets told as it is.
While Ms. Kurey’s main character, Farmer Finney, shows kindness, thoughtfulness, and respect for those around him, he responds—as well as do the seeds and the people—in clichés and wordiness. For example, phrases such as “…cracked up to be,” “live with the consequences of the poor choices he made,” and “knee high to a grasshopper,” sounds as if that was all she knew to write. A stronger story will emerge if she edits the “well-knowns” for some “unknowns.”
Her selection of Kevin Scott Collier’s illustrations adds interest, color, and connection to the story, as bold, primary colors should do. But, did he miss it in Chapter 3’s illustration? If Finney is talking to Scootie the Skunk, then why did he illustrate Finney talking to a squirrel?
Does FINNEY AND THE TALKING SEEDS rate as a children’s Chapter Book with a Christian theme? On a small scale it does, due to its good values and sense of multiculturalism; but, it does not rate as such on a higher level, even though the last illustration’s setting is in a church—that scene depicts one of the grown-up seeds that had been made into a wooden cross. Prior to this ending, the reader is unaware of Finney’s faith. Perhaps if he were to be both a pastor AND a farmer, the ending might seem plausible.
I am not advocating that every child’s book entering the Christian genre wear an obvious “Christian,” tag by adding scripture verses or the Golden Rule to the story. Adversely, I find nothing out of line when a story does exactly that. But, I do believe that every children’s book author writing for the Christian market, ask herself these two questions: Does my story ring strong and true with Christian values? Or does my story ring strong and true with Christian values tacked on?
Reviewer: Margaret Welwood
Ms. Kurey had me in suspense, and she also had me stumped! I was quite sure I knew how the story would play out.
The text is gentle, the pictures are bright, and the hero is one we would all like to have as a neighbour and friend. But it’s not just the hero that we root for—we watch the seeds on their journey, and wonder if they, like Finney, will see their dreams come true.
Younger children will enjoy a well-written story, and older children will also learn from the choices made and consequences experienced.
I recommend this book for families wishing to impart spiritual truths and a love of reading to their children. I also recommend it for Christian schools and church libraries.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of Kym Kurey’s books supports organizations that work to end child trafficking, and to rescue children already caught up in its web.