The Swamp Robber

Monday, December 22, 2014

But in a flash he jumped up and dashed lickety-sizzle straight toward Poetry. Both hands were stretched out in front of him as if he was going to grab Poetry and choke him to death.

Book: The Swamp Robber by Paul Hutchens, Moody Publishers, 1997, 1940
Genre: Adventure
Target Audience: Boys 10-14
Subject: Salvation, Drunkenness, Prayer
Summary: It all started the day Poetry decided to scare Bill and Dragonfly using the wig and beard he found in the old tree stump. The Sugar Creek Gang can’t figure out why it’s there, until they hear about a robber in the area. They figure it must belong to him – and they’re right! The police think they’ve caught the robber when a young boy is arrested, but Bill, Poetry, Dragonfly, Circus, Little Jim and Big Jim find out otherwise when they catch someone in another wig and beard digging in the woods one night! All this gives Bill some things to think about as he ponders the significance of these events, as well as a few other adventures occurring in his life.
Notes: The Sugar Creek Gang is a series about a group of young boys ranging from about age ten to the mid-teen years somewhere. The big idea is boys being boys and the adventures they get into as a result. The book move quickly from one adventure to the next. None are written as overly intense, even when a character is facing death. All the stories are narrated by a member of the gang as he looks back on the story, making it obvious that everyone ended up ok. The fun of the adventure is figuring out how, not if. The books are short, but have relatively long chapters for a beginning reader. They would definitely make great read-alouds. There is a lot of strong spiritual emphasis in the stories including the basics of salvation, living as a Christian, standing up for your faith, and witnessing to others.
In this story, Bill, the main character of the series, is pondering salvation and what happens if a person dies without becoming a Christian. The birth of a new sister, the near-death of the young boy caught by the police, and the drunken actions of Circus’ father cause Bill to ponder his own mortality, realizing that he needs to be saved and the others around him need to be saved as well. In this book he is ten years old, having grown up in a very godly home his whole life. He recognizes for the first time the need for assurance of his own salvation.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

2 Corinthians 6:1 – As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Timothy 3:15 - And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.


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