This Christian mystery is the second book in the "New Sugar Creek Gang" series by Pauline Hutchens Wilson and Sandy Dengler and is published by Moody Publishers.
The Big Bike Mystery is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Les Walker, a member of the Sugar Creek Gang, discovers the bicycle of his dreams. After showing it to others in the gang, the kids determine to earn enough money to buy the expensive bikes. Unfortunately, one of their members can't participate. Mike must work to help support his family, because his father has just lost his job. As the others move forward in their venture, Les' and Bits' church is set on fire. When an easily identifiable bike belonging to one of the gang is placed at the scene of the crime, Les and friends are distracted from their bike-buying plans to help solve the mystery before Mike is charged as an arsonist. The gang finds that in their case, the little things people did were important: Someone spilled oil and didn't clean it up. Someone else left a candle burning. The result was a fire and a lot of destruction. Once the Sugar Creek Gang earns the money they need, they decide not to buy the most expensive bikes, but good ones, so they will have the money to buy Mike a matching bicycle, as well.
Prayer, church and the Bible are interwoven throughout the story, and it explores what seeking God's direction means and how the little things in life matter. At one point, Bits speaks in a derogatory manner about Tiny preaching to them.
With the exception of Bits, the Sugar Creek Gang members are obedient to their parents and respect authority. A police detective is portrayed in a negative light when he makes harsh comments against young people and demonstrates his dislike by the way he handles his investigation. Bits' father kicks her off of their home computer, so she goes to the Walkers' house to use their computer. A lady that Tiny, Les and Lynn help at the scene of a car accident later takes them to lunch and shares how she was rebellious as a teenager. She acknowledges that she was wrong during those years and knows better now.
Other Belief Systems
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What happened to Bits' computer, and what did she tell Les?
Why did she lie?
How did she react when Les confronted her with the truth?
Have you ever lied to get your way?
What did you learn from the experience?
Why doesn't God want you to lie to get your way?
- How did Bits feel after Les caught her lying?
Why wasn't she remorseful?
How does rebellion cause people to behave?
Describe a time when you tricked someone.
How did you feel afterward?
What does the Bible say about repentance?
How is saying you are sorry for doing something the same as or different than feeling sorrow over doing it?
- What did the Sugar Creek Gang want to buy?
What did they do to purchase the bikes?
How have you worked for something you wanted?
How did you reach or give up on your goal? Was it worth it?
- What did Les and his friends discover about what they saw in an ad?
Have you seen ads that were not true?
How can you guard against believing everything you see in ads or on TV?
- How did little things play a big part in the church fire?
How do little things play a part in your life?
What are some little things to God?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.