Wednesday, October 31

Beloved Books

Again and again, The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew introduces me to new favorite companies. My latest discovery is Beloved Books, a wonderful family company that loves sharing their favorite books and audio books with other Christian families.

Beloved Books gave my family the first volume of  the Sugar Creek Gang Audio series. There are 6 volumes available, and we will find a way to add more to our collection. These are wonderful! Each volume contains 6 different stories. Each story is around 2 hours long. With 6 volumes, there are 72 hours worth of incredible family stories!
PhotobucketThe Sugar Creek Gang stories were written by Paul Hutchens, who has an amazing life story on his own. He was an evangelist and then a minister who preached 1,777 sermons and witnessed 2,500 conversions before contracting tuberculosis. During his recuperation, he began writing. His first Sugar Creek Gang book was published by Moody Press in 1939. Hutchens had the incredible ability to share adventures through the eyes of a 10-year old boy with an authentic and believable perspective. The stories aren't silly at all and are enjoyed by all ages, from the youngest to the oldest adult in the house. And though the stories are dealing with incredible adventures about everything from bank robbers to killer bears to hidden passages, the stories all seem very relevant. The characters in the story struggle with the same things we struggle, they have the same need of God's rescue and the same capacity for growth in their Christian walk. The stories remind us again and again of the choices before us, the character God calls us to, and His amazing Grace.

And while they invoke the feeling of snuggling up together in front of a living room fire and a family radio, the audio quality is superb and the narrator does a fantastic job of reading the voice of a 10 year old boy without a trace of silliness. My family loves audio books, but we're kind of picky when it comes to narrators. Paul Ramseyer, the narrator and producer, did an incredible job with The Sugar Creek Gang series.  He didn't read it like a book, but talked to listeners as if it was HIS story and he was sharing thoughts as they occurred to him. It was informal and personable and felt like he was having a riveting conversation with us in the car.

Volume 1 includes 6 stories:

The Swamp Robber
A close group of friends, dubbed the Sugar Creek Gang, discovered a disguise in an old tree. Later, they also discover a map of sorts and decipher its clues. A bank robbery and missing hermit all fit into an exciting story that shares the biblical principle of sowing and reaping.

The Killer Bear
The boys' wrestling in a strawberry patch ends them up in the path of an angry bear. The story follows the boys as they learn the biblical principle of forgiveness.

The Winter Rescue
In this tale, the boys discover the power of prayer as they hunt for a pet bear that was stolen. Hunting for the bear leads them to a hermit's cabin in the wood, which was featured in the first story of the swamp robber.

The Lost Campers
The boys encounter many adventures, including rafting on a dangerous river, solving mysteries, and meeting a genuine American Indian. Through these adventures, the boys learn the meaning of salvation.

The Chicago Adventure
With too many adventures to count in this story, the boys face some serious experiences that teach them again that Jesus is THE Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The Secret  Hideout
A pet lamb adds to the adventures as the boys face some spooky mysteries. The lamb and adventures work together to help the boys (and listeners) more deeply understand the parable of the lost sheep.  

Generally, we save audio books for in the car, during road trips of one hour or more. But because this was a review with a calendar deadline, we listened to them during our half-hour errands. The kids were so hooked, they were asking to listen during our 5-minute drives to the grocery store! These great stories that appealed to all of us. I love that again and again, they turn your thoughts toward God's presence in everything. Truly, He is not another character in the story, nor just a part of the characters' lives, but God is firmly established as the author of all, the foundation of their lives, and the finisher of our faith.  It is easy to slip into a habit of making God a part of our story, or our week. The stories in this series illustrate how it is meant to be, depending on Him always. They are told with the innocence of children and yet they challenge me as an adult. 

You can sample the first story for free with this download link., to see if it is a good fit for you. The first story, The Swamp Robber, can also be purchased for $4.95 (and free shipping!.) But after you listen to it, you will want the entire volume of 6 stories, which can be purchased for $54.95 (a great Christmas gift idea, wink, wink, nudge, nudge). All 6 volumes can be purchased for $279.70.

Disclaimer: I received this material in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of the TOS Crew, and received no other form of compensation. For whatever they're worth, the opinions are mine and mine alone, as stated in my disclosure policy.


Ginger said...

I KNEW I liked you for a reason! I grew up with these and had forgotten all about them. Following your link in a minute.
By the way, my kids are addicted to Carmen SanDiego - thankyouverymuch! ;)

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

'Great series!!!

Have a wonderful evenin' sweetie!

God bless ya'll :o)

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