HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Crooked Cave Caper! And Other Exciting Stories
Author: Hugh F. Pyle
Publisher: Sword of the Lord, republished 2000
Related website(s): http://www.swordofthelord.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(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 9 and up
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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Pyle, Hugh F. The Crooked Cave Caper! And Other Exciting Stories (published in 1980 by Sword of the Lord Publishers, P. O. Box 1099, Murfreesboro, TN 37133). Said to be “actually 3 books in 1,” The Crooked Cave Caper! And Other Exciting Stories is really a volume of three connected children’s stories. In “The Mill Corner’s Game,” Nick Nesbitt, age twelve, lives with his mother, father, and twin sister Kate on the edge of the village of Pineville, GA. Nick is best friends with Pete Rainey, age eleven, who lives with his family on a farm outside of town. Charlie Creighton, about the same age, moves with his family from Mississippi to the farm next to the Raineys. To say the least, Pete and Charlie do not hit it off well, so Nick tries to make peace between them. Can they all learn to get along so that they can play softball together against the Mill Corners team?
Then in “The Crooked Cave Caper!”, Mr. Andrews’s jewelry store in Pineville is robbed. What do the three boys find on an adventuresome overnight camping trip to Crooked Cave that helps them to solve the crime? Finally, in “Runaway Mountain,” Nick and his family go on a vacation trip to the mountains with another friend, Jody Miller, and his parents, sister Marge, and rambunctious little brother Denny (“Dennis the Menace”). When Denny and another young boy, George Garrison, wander off and get lost on the mountain where there are wildcats and bears, Nick, Jody, their fathers, and a couple of rangers spend the night in the forest looking for the two. Will they ever be found or does tragedy occur?
Woven into these chapters, which are intended to be both interesting and character-building, are warnings against the dangers of alcohol, atheism, permissive parenting, and rock music, along with encouragement for close family life, Biblical childrearing, church attendance, and prayer. In addition, all through the book, great importance is placed upon becoming a Christian and seeking to live a godly life that will influence others for good. Some people might feel that the author is overly “preachy” in his writing. I for one didn’t mind this emphasis and enjoyed reading the stories, but it is certainly true that there is no effort to hide or even tone down the religious underpinnings of the plot.