Customer Reviews: Sugar Creek Gang Books 1-6 Set (The Swamp Robber/The Killer Bear/The Winter Rescue/The Lost Campers/The Chicago Adventure/The Secret Hideout)
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on March 23, 2002
I am a mom to 5 boys and our family has been hooked on the adventures of the Sugar Creek Gang for a few years now! We originally discovered the stories through an awesome set of cassette tapes. The books were dramatized for an radio series by Paul Ramseyer of Northwestern College Radio in Minnesota and our family is now a part of the ministry, helping to produce the audio series for families to enjoy at home! Do you want your children to learn gentle lessons of courage, faith & friendship on THEIR level? Do you want to see real growth in their character? The stories are fun adventures with the truth of God's plans woven skillfully throughout. See the world through the eyes of Bill Collins, a freckle-faced, firey-tempered red head. You'll enjoy Bill's antics and the barefoot fun of all the boys in the "gang"! (As a side note, I do recommend the books be read in order. They tell an ongoing story from beginning to end.) From the back of the tapes: "Step back in time... to one-room schoolhouses, hot summer days of fishing, fun and barefoot boys. Sugar Creek Gang stories engage the imagination and draw a child's heart into a living relationship with God! Hymns, scripture verses, nature lore, poetry; sensitivity toward the disabled, the oppressed... and the courage and confidence to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ." --- Just the right recipe for training up a child!
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on January 10, 2000
I read these when I was in about 4th grade in the early 1960s. Today, I see the word -gang- and think drugs and guns. These simple stories tell the childhood adventures of a group of boys growing up near Sugar Creek. They meet a mysterious hermit in the woods in one book, kill a bear in another and catch a bank robber in another. But the real appeal is the way the author paints the boys' personalities. We learn lessons with them, become friends with them, grow up with them, and significantly, discover faith in God with them. It's been 30 years and I still have a sweet spot in my heart for each of these boys. I encourage you to check 'em out.
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on September 24, 2000
I grew up in rural Oregon in the 60s -- a smart lonely kid living on a deadend road. The Sugar Creek Gang were my best friends and we spent many hours in the shade of a weeping willow getting in and out of trouble together. It's now 30 years later, my six-year-old son and I have exhausted the Harry Potter series, and he is learning about life in the sticks through the eyes of Paul Hutchens. Probably not a great series for most girls but for six- to 10-year-old boys -- wonderful stuff!!
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on July 2, 2014
For all of us old fogeys who read the Sugar Creek Gang series when they were children you should be warned, these are NOT the same books. Oh, a lot of the story is the same, and they are still evangelistic, but they have been emasculated by being 'updated for today's readers'.

Just to give one quick example that I found on the second page I perused I found the following example of political correctness: the exact kind of thing that we were worried had been done to spoil the moral message of these stories.

What I assume is the original story (copyright 1942, 1968 edition Moody Publishers) of the book 'The secret hideout' there is a sentence that reads (on page 57 of that edition):

"The bell rang and the girls came back in, looking at us to see if any of us had gotten a licking, and probably wishing we had, as girls sometimes do, and none of us had."

The 'for today's reader' that we had been shipped now reads (page 49):

"The bell rang and the girls came back in, looking at us."

I await anyone's statement that this is not a sop to modern political correctness, a fear of even mentioning the historical fact that children used to get 'lickings' in school (and from their parents) let alone what the original SCG actually taught, which was that that was a good thing.
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on January 17, 2009
I had heard the Sugar Creek Gang series as a radio broadcast and wanted to buy the books for my son, who is now 8. He absolutely loves them. I would describe the books as being somewhere in between the Hardy Boys and Little House on the Prairie. The books are set during the same time frame as the Hardy Boys, but are set geographically in rural Indiana -- so you get a gang of boys knowledgeable in fishing, hunting, farming, one-room schoolhouses and general country living and family life.

The author really works hard to tell the stories from a little boy's perspective and it works -- some of the things he says which I think are goofy completely resonate with my son. And he tells the books like one big story, connecting each book in the series with the previous one, even giving a foreshadowing of the story of the next book in the series within the final pages of the previous book. After each book, my son can't wait to get to the next one.

No review of these books is complete without mentioning the faith-building messages of the books. The main narrator, a character by the name of Bill Collins, weaves in everyday Christian thoughts and messages all from a little boy's perspective. They are thought-provoking comments that are short enough to not appear to be "preachy" but with enough substance to plant a seed in the hearts and minds of children.

I knew the books would be good, but reading them aloud, I realize they are great.
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on December 16, 2008
I bought the first set of these books (1-6) for my boys (ages 2 & 4). Of course they're for me to read to them, not them to read for themselves. They are written for older boys and there are some things that my guys don't understand in the books that older boys would. I think these books are absolutely wonderful!!! They're exciting and interesting and hold children's attention (at least as well as can be expected for a 2 and 4 year old---I'm sure it would hold older kids attention even better as I, myself find it hard to stop reading and I'm 39!). They use realistic situations that many kids will find themselves in. The Sugar Creek Gang ("gang" of Christian boys) almost always does the right thing, but even when they don't they wind up repenting about it. I love how heartfelt and sincere in their faith that the boys are. I tear up just reading about how the boys care about other's people's souls and the fact that not everyone has had the same chances they have. The main boy in the story has Christian parents, though they don't all. He is aware, and shares through his writing, that he's very fortunate to have such good parents that love God and that have taught him Christian values and about Jesus. And yes, JESUS' name is actually used in the books!!! I can't even express how wonderful I think these books are. There are some instances where the boys get in fights so I guess some may consider that "offensive", but it's just realistic and even when they're angry at others it's generally because others are making fun of their Christianity. Yes, walking away may be the better approach, but let's face it, this is a group of "real boys" and none of us make the best choice ALL THE TIME. Anyway, I am very, very, very pleased with these books. They're wonderfully written, have real-to-life situations and I believe that most any boy (and many girls) could totally relate to these books and learn a lot about Christian character and morals from them. The only downfall is that there's no pictures at all (other than the picture on the cover of the book of course). I know my little guys would prefer there to be pictures, but that's a minor detail.
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on May 27, 2014
I just finished reading all 6 of these books and I was so excited I had to come on here and tell you about them so you'd know enough to want to buy them! I am an adult, and I heard about them because the Duggars recommended them, so I wanted to read them to see what my kids would be reading. I don't think I thought I'd end up reading all 6 and ordering books 7-12 already! But they are so good. Not only are they wholesome, godly books that teach tidbits of life advice and even occasionally math or other things that are good to know, but they are so extremely well written! I have really been enjoying them! The author's descriptions are interesting and paint such a picture, and just when you think you've got everything all figured out for what is about to happen, it surprises you! It's not predictable, never corny, and so exciting at times!

My least favorite of the 6 books was The Killer Bear because the book was actually about being "saved" and only the last 2 short chapters was about the bear. All of the rest of the books were just fantastic! And the Killer Bear book wasn't bad either.

One other potential negative I saw was that in one of the books, the kids get into a physical fight, and the author does not seem to think this is a bad thing. It was a different time.

The books talk a lot about God / Jesus / The Bible, and bring it up on numerous occasions. The kids go to church and Sunday school and it says a few times how silly it is to think you are a sissy for going to church (which some kids will make you feel like), and sends the message that you will be good and happy being a Christian, and sad or bad if you're not.

This author really understands kids, or boys. It shows through clearly, in the thoughts the main character has, and the things the kids plan for fun.

The main character boy has a tiny tiny interest in girls (although I'm sure he would not want to admit it) but the author shows this by saying he wants to kill a spider or something for a girl with nice curls. He's always talking about killing a spider for a girl it's so cute. But then, like I said, the author always gives a twist, so just you wait when he finally sees a spider next to the girl with nice curls! It's so realistic.

I really can't say enough good things about these books.

Personally, I am Catholic, so the only thing I'm not crazy about is that they are CLEARLY protestant and constantly talking about getting people "saved".

They are always going on fun and different adventures so it's not boring. These kids are so much fun to hang out with. I'll probably start book 7 tomorrow :D I can't wait for my kids to read these.
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on August 14, 2015
The Sugar Creek Gang is set in a bygone era, but its lessons are timeless. While the stories focus mainly on the lives of boys, girls will enjoy the adventuresome spirit in everyone. The emphasis is on Christian faith, the morality is high, the plots are easy to follow, and the lessons for life are just as relevant today as when the books were written. We bought them for our grandchildren, and they love the books.
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on May 27, 2016
I bought these books for my 10 yr old grandsons birthday. I remember my mom read the Sugar Creek Gang books to me when I was a child. I am now 65 years old. Timeles books. When he receives them I will let you know his review.
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on June 18, 2015
This series of books is a must have for any young boy! My sons read them faster than I can buy them. I would HIGHLY recommend these to any boy over the age of 9 or so. They are Christian books about a young group of boys that live near Sugar Creek. The books cover all their adventures and exploits as they learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!
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