I bought the first set of these books (1-6) for my boys (ages 2 & 4). Of course they're for me to read to them, not them to read for themselves. They are written for older boys and there are some things that my guys don't understand in the books that older boys would. I think these books are absolutely wonderful!!! They're exciting and interesting and hold children's attention (at least as well as can be expected for a 2 and 4 year old---I'm sure it would hold older kids attention even better as I, myself find it hard to stop reading and I'm 39!). They use realistic situations that many kids will find themselves in. The Sugar Creek Gang ("gang" of Christian boys) almost always does the right thing, but even when they don't they wind up repenting about it. I love how heartfelt and sincere in their faith that the boys are. I tear up just reading about how the boys care about other's people's souls and the fact that not everyone has had the same chances they have. The main boy in the story has Christian parents, though they don't all. He is aware, and shares through his writing, that he's very fortunate to have such good parents that love God and that have taught him Christian values and about Jesus. And yes, JESUS' name is actually used in the books!!! I can't even express how wonderful I think these books are. There are some instances where the boys get in fights so I guess some may consider that "offensive", but it's just realistic and even when they're angry at others it's generally because others are making fun of their Christianity. Yes, walking away may be the better approach, but let's face it, this is a group of "real boys" and none of us make the best choice ALL THE TIME. Anyway, I am very, very, very pleased with these books. They're wonderfully written, have real-to-life situations and I believe that most any boy (and many girls) could totally relate to these books and learn a lot about Christian character and morals from them. The only downfall is that there's no pictures at all (other than the picture on the cover of the book of course). I know my little guys would prefer there to be pictures, but that's a minor detail.
I am a mom to 5 boys and our family has been hooked on the adventures of the Sugar Creek Gang for a few years now! We originally discovered the stories through an awesome set of cassette tapes. The books were dramatized for an radio series by Paul Ramseyer of Northwestern College Radio in Minnesota and our family is now a part of the ministry, helping to produce the audio series for families to enjoy at home! Do you want your children to learn gentle lessons of courage, faith & friendship on THEIR level? Do you want to see real growth in their character? The stories are fun adventures with the truth of God's plans woven skillfully throughout. See the world through the eyes of Bill Collins, a freckle-faced, firey-tempered red head. You'll enjoy Bill's antics and the barefoot fun of all the boys in the "gang"! (As a side note, I do recommend the books be read in order. They tell an ongoing story from beginning to end.) From the back of the tapes: "Step back in time... to one-room schoolhouses, hot summer days of fishing, fun and barefoot boys. Sugar Creek Gang stories engage the imagination and draw a child's heart into a living relationship with God! Hymns, scripture verses, nature lore, poetry; sensitivity toward the disabled, the oppressed... and the courage and confidence to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ." --- Just the right recipe for training up a child!