HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Hamelin Stoop (Book 1): The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge
Author: Robert B. Sloan
Publisher: 12 Gates Publishing, 2016
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 8-12 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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Sloan, Robert B. Hamelin Stoop (Book 1): The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge (Published in 2016 by 12 Gates Publishing). A girl named Johnnie escapes from an evil lord named Ren’dal of Ventradees in another world and is raised at the Upton County Children’s Home in west Texas, where she grows up, marries a young worker at the home named Simon, and has a baby. But when trackers from Ren’dal appear, she abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of the same children’s home before she and Simon are taken to Ventradees. The staff at the orphanage name him Hamelin Stoop. Meanwhile, a great struggle is going on in the other world, and a princess named Charissa is captured. When the children’s home forgets his eighth birthday, Hamelin sneaks away at night and, guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, soon discovers that he is being summoned by the Ancient One.
What is Hamelin’s mission? Can he pass a dangerous test of courage? And will he ever learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity? This young adult fantasy novel is Book 1 in the Hamelin Stoop series. Its fast-paced narrative instantly captures one’s attention and holds it throughout. There is some juggling of diverse characters who appear and disappear, and the story reads slowly at times, but it is still interesting, unpredictable, and hard to put down. Unfortunately, much modern fantasy for middle school grades often has too much junk that goes against the Bible. There are some magical objects within the story but nothing that most believers would find alarming, cringeworthy, questionable, or against the word of God
Rather, Hamelin Stoop has a lot of nuggets that foreshadow the Bible and offers something that has been lacking in a lot of modern fantasy—a deep understanding of the true nature of good and evil. The book, with its adventure and danger, also provides ample opportunities for talking about bullying, fear, courage, change, friendship, and similar characteristics and situations. Author Robert B. Sloan apparently intends that there will eventually be six or seven books in the series encompassing the entire Bible within the completed set. The first book basically builds up for the action of the second one, enabling the reader to know the characters and see what they go through. The first sequel, published in 2017, is entitled The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna.