The Case of the Monster in the Creek
A book review for parents
This sixth mystery book in the "New Sugar Creek Gang" series by Pauline Hutchens Wilson and Sandy Dengler is published by Moody Publishers.
The Case of the Monster in the Creek is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
After Bits claims to see a monster in Sugar Creek, the gang is determined to discover what it is. In the meantime, Les helps his sisters, Hannah and Catherine, with monsters of a different kind — two unruly little cousins that the girls have agreed to baby sit for two weeks. The Sugar Creek Gang and their families grow fearful when Tyler disappears because a known child molester was seen in their area. They figure out that Tyler has run away to Sugar Creek County Park. What they don't know is that the molester is luring Tyler toward his truck with the promises of things that Tyler wants. Fortunately, the Creekers find Tyler moments before he gets into the molester's truck. The mystery of the monster in the creek is solved when a stream ecologist agrees to take the gang to the creek at night, they learn which kind of fish is in the creek.
This book is written from a Christian worldview. God, prayer, Jesus and the Bible are all interwoven throughout the storyline. On several occasions, Les spends time with God — praying, giving thanks and simply enjoying His presence.
The Sugar Creek Gang recognizes that the Word of God commands them to honor and respect authority, especially that of their parents. An older woman accuses them of doing something they didn't do, and they are arrested without cause and slightly mistreated by the police. The children still treat the police with respect. Their parents take their side and do not allow the police to continue in their wrongdoing. At one point, Les does yell at his parents, but later apologizes. Another time, Bits rolls her eyes while her father is giving her instructions, but she obeys what he says. The two young cousins show no regard for authority whatsoever and wreak havoc in the Walker home and in their lives. Mr. Walker points out that that their lack of obedience to authority almost causes Tyler to be kidnapped by a child molester.
Other Belief Systems
Though nothing explicit is shared, a man who has recently been released from jail tries to lure both Lynn and Tyler, on different occasions, into his truck with promises of a ride home and a puppy.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- How did Lynn and Tyler handle the encounter with the stranger differently?
Why does Tyler choose not to obey what he knows is right?
What are the consequences? What should you do if you are approached by a stranger?
- What goal has Lynn set for herself?
What is she willing to do in order to achieve that goal?
Do you have any long-term goals?
What kind of discipline or commitment will it take for you to achieve your goal?
- What happens to Tyler as a result of his disobedience?
How have you disobeyed your parent (us)?
What are some of the consequences you have experienced because of disobedience?
What blessings have you reaped for doing what is right?
- What are some of the false assumptions and judgments made by the characters in this book?
Have you ever made a false assumption about someone or something?
What was the result?
What does God say about drawing conclusions about people without knowing all of the facts?
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.