HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: River Rampage: The Sam Cooper Adventure Series, Volume 3
Author: Max Elliot Anderson
Illustrator: Anna O’Brien
Publisher: Port Yonder Press, 2012
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Anderson, Max Elliot. River Rampage: The Sam Cooper Adventure Series, Volume 3 (published in 2012 by Port Yonder Press LLC, Shellsburg, IA). Do you think that you would enjoy going down a raging river on a raft? Twelve-year-old Sam Cooper and his family have moved to Harper’s Inlet on the Treasure Coast of Florida. His new friend, Tony Dodds, invites him and another friend, Tyler Peterson, to take a white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River in Utah with Tony’s Uncle Harlan. After some initial hesitation Sam’s parents give their permission, so Sam gets all his gear ready and Tony’s father drives the boys to Moab, UT. Everything is planned to make the trip as safe as possible, but the unexpected can always happen. And with Sam, Tony, and Tyler, it usually does.
The second day out, the rope tying the boys’ raft to the one ahead of it catches on a small log wedged into some rocks and snaps, leaving them stranded. Battling the raging waters in a raft that is punctured by a rock and is now taking on water, the three manage with great difficulty to bring the raft to shore in a very desolate place. Then when they try to walk out, they find themselves in a box canyon with a kindly old prospector named Gus who has found a gold mine but is trapped in by a group of motorcycle-riding claim jumpers. What can the boys and Gus do? Is anyone looking for them? Will they ever be able to escape?
If your tween boys, and girls too, like adventure and excitement, they simply have to try Max Elliot Anderson’s books. I’ve never read one that I didn’t like. There is nothing objectionable. Families are usually presented as father, mother, and children in loving relationships. That’s not to say the kids in them never face any problems, but there are always appropriate solutions which meet the needs. I like the way that Sam and his friends attend church services, believe in prayer, and look to God for guidance. Yet, the tone is not “preachy” but just filled with good, clean fun. Most of Anderson’s other books have had completely different characters and settings, so a series is a departure for his writing. Book number 1 of the Sam Cooper series is Lost Island Smugglers, which I have read, and book number 2 is Captain Jack’s Treasure, which I have not.