Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Sugar Creek Gang audio stories

It should come as now surprise, given our curriculum choices, that we love books. And given our literature-heavy curriculum choice, it also won't surprise you to learn that my throat is often raw from all of the reading aloud that I do.

So when I got a chance to review an audio book series, I jumped on it! Not only does it give my throat a break but I get to enjoy being read aloud to also. Double win!!

Beloved Books graciously sent us Vol. 1 of their Sugar Creek Gang audio story series.

About Beloved Books

Beloved Books was created to share wholesome audio resources with other Christian families. They offer scripture songs, historical fiction, missionary stories, Bible history songs, and other wholesome fiction books.

The company's main ministry is to share the Sugar Creek Gang series with the world. The series was written by Paul Hutchens, a former evangelist. When tuberculosis cut short his ministry, he tried his hand at writing. And, 36 books later, another successful career was born.

Why does the company love this series? Here's what they have to say about it.

These Sugar Creek Gang "Audio Adventures" are dramatically read straight from the original books. Christian families LOVE this series because the gospel message is presented in such a simple, easy-to-understand style. The whole series is, in fact, a discipleship journey... even parents who listen along witness the Holy Spirit working changes in their own hearts!

Families also enjoy the delightfully interspersed segments of nature study, poetry, hyms, and even science lessons... all skillfully woven into the fabric of the stories.

The CDs contain the original "Adventure Time" broadcasts, narrated by Paul Ramseyer. There are six volumes available each containing six two-hour stories.

Volume 1 contains:

The Swamp Robber
The Killer Bear
The Winter Rescue
The Lost Campers
Chicago Adventure
The Secret Hideout

Our Experience

We popped the first CD into the player and we were hooked!!! I wasn't sure if my girly-girl daughter would totally enjoy a series about boys but she is now a huge fan. She has, on more than one occasion, wished that she lived near them and could be part of the Sugar Creek Gang.

The narrator, Paul Ramseyer, is fabulous. His voice is soothing and he did a wonderful job using his voice to differentiate between the different characters.

I was a tad jealous at his mad-narrating-skills. I'm one of those moms who does all the voices when I read aloud to the children. One story, that we read a few years back, had German, French, and Italian characters and I did "accents" for each and every one. Poorly, I might add. But my embarrassing myself like that makes the stories more memorable for my children. But even so, my girls really enjoyed hearing Paul Ramseyer's top-notch story reading.

The characters are likable and relatable. Even for 11 year old girls. The gang is made up of six boys.

Bill Collins is the "narrator." He's the 10 year old son of a farmer. He tries to obey his parents but sometimes he gets into some trouble. Just like every child listening to the stories.

His best friend is Poetry. He's the  mischievous, "barrel-shaped", poetry quoting friend and neighbor. He has a poem for all occasions. Like me and song lyrics. ;o)

Dragonfly gets his nickname because his big eyes are always spotting something. Whether real or imagined, Dragonfly will spot it first.

Circus is the athlete of the gang. If there's something around to climb, he's sure to be at the top of it. He also has the roughest life of everyone in the gang, with his father having an alcohol problem.

Big Jim is the leader of the gang as well as the oldest. He uses his boy scout skills to keep the younger boys in line.

The last member of the gang is Little Jim. He's also the youngest and the rest of the gang refers to him as a good Christian. Not a bad way to be remembered.

The stories themselves are filled with fun, suspense, and adventure. The boys are always finding themselves in the middle of one thing or another and we're always wanting to hear what happens next. We've been listening to them in the car and we've found ourselves wanting to sit and listen a little bit longer even after we've reached our destination.

More importantly stories are filled with the gospel, biblical truths, and scripture that are easy for young listeners to understand. The biblical truths are not just added into to an adventure story. They are a huge part of the characters. They talk about their faith as naturally as we breath. It's part of them and it's the best part of the series. And the lessons within this series are just as relevant today as they were the day they were written.

We had one morning during the review period that was very rough with my oldest. She had done some things to break my trust and it was just a bad way to start the day. But the day must go on, so we headed out to our music lessons.  While traveling we were, of course listening to our current Sugar Creek Gang story. And wouldn't you know it, there was a little lesson for Mackenzie in the current section. Complete with scripture showing why her behavior was wrong. She picked up on it right away and commented on how God was talking to her through the story. And it's not just the kids will be convicted. I found myself getting a little nudge a few days later.

I cannot recommend this series enough, it has been such a blessing for our family. Not only are they great family entertainment, they are a wonderful way to help grow your child's faith.  We'll be listening to Volume 2 in the near future.



Age Range: Young to Old

Price: $54.95 per volume with FREE SHIPPING included. And with 12 hours worth of wholesome, family entertainment, that works out to be less than $5.00 an hour. For the entire family. Way cheaper than a movie that probably has some less than desirable scenes in it.

And for my readers a 20% off code for your entire order.
Use the code:  GIGGLY-GIRLS-20

Still not sure? Listen to the first complete story FREE online:

Slow internet connection make this difficult? You can also get the first story, Swamp Robber, on CD for just $4.95. They'll pay the shipping


Disclaimer: I received Vol. 1 free for review purposes. All opinions are my own or those of my family.

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