HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Sagebrush Rebellion
Author: Mary Reeves Bell
Cover Illustrator: Cheri Bladholm
Publisher: Kingsley Books, 1999
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 12 – 17
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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Bell, Mary Reeves. The Sagebrush Rebellion (Published in 1999 by Kingsley Books Inc., P. O. Box 121584, Nashville, TN 37212). Fifteen year old Constantine (Con) Rea lives with his mother and step-father in Vienna, Austria, but spends every summer with his six girl cousins, Lindy, Claire, Kate, Abby, Jess, and Alisa, on the sprawling family cattle ranch of their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Whitman (Whit) Walker near Thermopolis in the wilds of Wyoming. They have always had a good time, but this summer it is different. Grandpa Walker has had a heart attack and then broke his leg in a horse riding accident. And there are other troubles at the ranch. Fences have been cut. Cattle have been poisoned. Trumped-up charges of environmental abuse have been made by Raymond Rice from the Bureau of Land Management. Facing financial ruin, the Walkers may lose the ranch, which has been in their family for generations.
Their enemies are numerous. Besides Rice, there is a radical environmental group called Mother Earth, whose motto is “The only good cow is a dead cow.” Some local Native Americans on the neighboring Wind River Reservation have had various disputes with Grandpa through the years. The other neighbors, Fred and Lily Marvin, have always been jealous of the Walkers’ success. And a wealthy movie star named Robert Blackford is poised to swoop in and “take the ranch off their hands.” What is going on? Who is behind this sabotage? Is there any way that Con and his cousins can find the cause of all the problems and expose the truth before it’s too late? Or will this be their last summer in Wyoming?
This is Book 2 of 3 in the “Passport to Danger Series.” I enjoyed Book 1, The Secret of the Mezuzah, so much that I decided to get the other two. There are several things which I liked about The Sagebrush Rebellion. It is a great mystery story with a lot of suspense but no bad language or objectionable situations. A wonderful multi-generational family relationship is portrayed. Con and his cousins illustrate the benefits of teamwork in solving a problem. And this is a group of people for whom their religious faith is an important aspect that helps to guide them in their daily lives. It is always nice to read good fiction that presents a Biblical worldview without overdoing it. As another reviewer said, “The Christian theme is evident but not invasive.”