Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beloved Books--Sugar Creek Gang (Review)

Have you ever seen the movie A Christmas Story? What was one of the most charming parts of that movie? The narrator, right? Well, the Sugar CreekGang audio series, based on a 1939 books series by Paul Hutchens, will immediately draw you in because of the narrator (Paul Ramseyer) and his old-fashioned voice. It is so great!  Abbey and I were instantly transported to another place and time when the narrator began the story.  The stories are being read straight from the original series of books, and each story flawlessly weaves what it means to be a true Christian throughout the adventures of a group of young boys—The Sugar Creek Gang.  

The stories are told from the perspective of young Bill Collins and he oh, so demonstratively describes all his fellow gang: Poetry, Circus, Dragonfly, Little Jim and Big Jim. Every emotion in every adventure is so well relayed to the listener, we felt like we were right there beside them! 

But here's the funny start to this review: Abbey’s reaction when I told her we were going to listen to audio tapes was, “Awww, Mama!. . . I don’t like just listening.  Why aren’t there videos?”  She was using her best whining voice so I assured her she was going to like it and I told her that after 15 minutes if she still didn’t want to listen any longer we would turn it off for the night.  After 15 minutes of listening, she was like, “I-I-I, I think I want to leave it on a little longer. You know, just until I hear this first part.”  And like that, she was hooked.  

And honestly, so was her mama.  

About two hours into listening to the series, I realized something. Today’s children are just so inundated with television, video games, iThis and iThat---they are no longer taught to use their imagination.  I am telling you, it is sadly a lost art in today’s younger generation.  My husband and I grew up reading books and listening to radio shows and we had to use our imaginations on a daily basis.  It made us hone our critical thinking skills and allowed us to have no preset limits on where the stories we read or heard could take us. I love, love, LOVE, that the folks at Beloved Books realize that using the imagination is a dying art, and have preserved the stories like Sugar Creek Gang, G.A Henty, Little BritchesAll-of-a-Kind Family and a lot more on high-quality audio CDs.  

These stories are an absolute, timeless treasure and I can’t really say enough about them.  If you’ve ever been the parent of a precocious little boy, you will totally relate to the mischief and adventures these Sugar Creek Gang boys get themselves into in each story.  Abbey was so proud when she figured out the mystery in The Swamp Robber, exclaiming, “I knew it!” when a certain discovery is made in the cabin in the woods.   

Ethics, morals, values, and Christian obedience are all woven seamlessly into each story without feeling preachy to the listener.  The boys in the gang all realize that even at a young age, they matter to God and they can make a difference in the world.  Even in the midst of their most exciting adventures, the boys would look at each other and say, "Uh-oh. It's 5:30. We gotta get home for supper or Mom and Dad will be mad."  See? Just good, wholesome stories that make you feel good knowing your children are listening. 

Every review I have done on my blog to date, I have had to reluctantly share something negative about each product because I feel compelled to be honest about each review I do.  Well, I honestly have nothing negative to say about these stories.   

We are trying to figure out a road trip we can take just so we can listen to all the CDs again.  

And I am very excited to offer, just for my blog readers, an exclusive discount code that will allow you to order anything off the Beloved Books site and take 20% off your order:  Just use the code: CCC-20.  

I was chosen to review the first six CDs (Volume I) of the The Sugar Creek Gang, which contains the following stories (about 2 hours each story):

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

There are a total of 72 CDs in the Sugar Creek Gang series and they are $54.95 for six audio CDs, or $279.70 for all 72 CDs.  (Remember, use the coupon code “CCC-20” for a 20% discount, no expiration date).   I plan to order the other volumes and I plan to get the All-of-a-Kind Family series as a Christmas gift, as that was a favorite book series of mine when I was a little girl and I can't wait to share them with Abbey.

Want to listen without purchasing an entire volume? You can actually order the entire story of The Swamp Robber for only $4.95 if you want to get a good feel and listen before purchasing the entire set. I promise, you'll want to order the entire set!

Want to hear what other Schoolhouse Crew Members thought about Beloved Books and their products?  Click the banner below! 

Disclaimer: I was provided Volume I of the Sugar Creek Gang Series from Beloved Books in exchange for my honest opinion about the product. The opinions are my own and no other compensation was given.

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