HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Jericho Ride
Author: Betty Gaard
Illustrator: Sandy Rabinowitz
Publisher: JourneyForth, 2003
Related website(s): http://www.bjup.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 – 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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Gaard, Betty. Jericho Ride (Published in 2003 by Journey Forth Books, a division of Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC). Teenager Tony Vincent lives in Oklahoma City, OK, with his mom. His dad, a horse trainer, had moved the family there from Wisconsin but was killed in an accident. Tony is on probation for fighting at school and also wants to get into the elite Greenwood Equestrian High School. So he arrives at his Uncle Jack’s Christian youth camp near Del Rio, Texas, to spend the summer working as a riding instructor, hoping to satisfy his probation and improve his resume for Greenwood, as well as earning some money. However, strange things begin to happen. A gun, which he claims to know nothing about, is found in his suitcase. Food is being stolen from the camp.
As the reality of his gritty, mosquito-infested surroundings sets in, Tony’s dreams begin to fade, especially when curious law officers arrive, and other mysterious activities at Camp Jericho feed his fear that he will never be able to dispel the shadows that hang over his past. Then Tony discovers a window of opportunity to save Camp Jericho from foreclosure and make amends for his mistakes by participating in a barrel race at a nearby rodeo with his uncle’s horse Quarto. The prize for winning is $2,500.00. Will Tony be brave enough to try? Who is stealing the food? And where did that gun come from?
There is a strong element of mystery in the plot, especially with shadowy characters like Reuben and Mole (Mr. Molensky). But some good lessons may also be found. An element of overcoming jealousy is dealt with in the relationship of Tony and his cousin Jordan. Then, Tony and his friends experience up close and personal the consequences of disobedience. And along the way, Tony decides to repent his sins and commit his life to Jesus Christ. Not everyone will necessarily agree with the picture of what one must do to be saved, but it is still nice to read exciting stories about young people who turn to the Lord and how it affects their lives.