HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Panther Creek Mountain: The Big Adventure
Author and Illustrator: Clyde McCulley
Cover Designer: Sherri McCulley Seibold:
Publisher: Story Night Press, 2018
Related website(s): http://www.storynightpress.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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McCulley, Clyde. Panther Creek Mountain: The Big Adventure (published in 2018 by Story Night Press, Portland, ME). Are you ready for some thrilling adventures? It is 1951, and Clay McDougal, age eleven, lives with his Pa, Mama, and younger brother Luke, age nine, on Panther Creek Mountain, part of the Appalachian Ridge. The boys attend Wild Cat Valley School, but it’s summer, and school is out. Their best friend is Georgie Robinson. Then, when their Uncle Neal dies, their Aunt Olive and cousin Sally Jane, also age nine, move to Panther Creek Mountain, so they have another playmate—if they can lower themselves to do things with a girl. Over the summer they build a tree house, find a mysterious cave, meet up with Mama and Aunt Olive’s sister Aunt Jane who has run away from a mental hospital, fall into an open water well, stumble onto a dangerous wild razorback pig, escape the strike of a rattlesnake, get attacked by a hawk, build a raft like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and float down the Wild Cat River to an island where they encounter a hermit who has booby-trapped his cabin with a shotgun, take a ride on a runaway train car, go coon hunting with a neighbor at night, and more, all while listening to the scream of the panther each night.
Are Clay and Luke able to get along with their girl cousin? Is the Indian mound which they find way back in the woods really haunted by the ghosts of Indians buried there? And will they all survive the huge storm that brings a tornado and a flash flood while the children are riding their bikes back from going to the army surplus store in town? Panther Creek Mountain: The Big Adventure is Book 1 in an intended series of “Adventures on Panther Creek Mountain.” I was born in the early 1950s and grew up in a rural area with a brother two years younger than I, so I can relate to Clay and Luke. Some colloquial euphemisms (e.g., ding-dang and dad-gum) and childish slang terms (e.g., pee) are found, and the “d” word is used once by some rabbit hunters in the woods while the boys are hidden in the cave. But the book is a pleasant story about the summer explorations of some kids growing up in backwoods America during a simpler time. Those of us who had similar experiences in our youth can read the book with a sense of wistful nostalgia, and readers who weren’t so free to explore their worlds can be envious.