“Trouble in Troublesome Creek”
by Nancy Kelly Allen, illustrated by K. Michael Crawford
c.2010, Red Rock Press
$16.95 / $19.95 Canada
By Terri Schlichenmeyer, Philadelphia Tribune contributor
Where is your favorite place to play?
Maybe you have a playhouse out in the back yard, or a secret spot where adults are not so welcome. Perhaps there’s a basketball court or set of swings that you’d visit every day if you could. Or maybe you like your room best, or a certain spot on the sofa.
No matter where it is, nobody better mess with your spot.
In the new book “Trouble in Troublesome Creek” by Nancy Kelly Allen, illustrated by K. Michael Crawford, somebody was killing fish in the Gang’s best summertime play spot, and James and his friends needed to make it stop.
Every day during summer vacation, James and his friends Liz, Dean, Sallie, and Carolyn went to Troublesome Creek to ride on the ooh-ah rope that swung over the creek and to splash in the icy cool water. Troublesome Creek was their favorite place to play.
But one morning — eeeuuuwww — the creek was full of dead fish. Gross. Who could have done such an awful thing?
Aunt Pearl, who always seemed to be gardening nearby, said it was a mystery. So did every other adult in town, when the Gang went around asking.
Since it wasn’t a good idea to swim in a creek filled with icky dead fish, James decided one day to take a dry ride on the ooh-ah rope. He swung out and yelled “Ooooooohhh!” and let go. The gang hollered, “Ahhhhh” as he landed on the other side of the creek and right near a big pile of rocks. The rocks spilled into the creek and as they did, James spotted an old cave.
He peeked inside. And after Carolyn found a flashlight, the kids entered …
Eeeeeeuuuuwww, the cave was filled with bats, and they flew all around and sent shivers down James’ spine. But there was something else in the cave that interested the Gang very much: nearly covering the floor of the cave were hundreds of strange old metal rocks. The kids took some of the rocks to the Troublesome Creek Museum, where they learned an amazing, historical surprise that solved the mystery and made their summer even better.
Got a kid who loves the season? Of course you do, and that kid is going to love this perfect summertime book, too.
Author Nancy Kelly Allen’s words and the colorful drawings by K. Michael Crawford both evoke a wonderful, carefree time when kids could wander freely, and a swimmin’ hole and a strong rope swinging over the water were all they needed to enjoy a perfectly gorgeous day. With that in mind, a lot of grown-ups will be awfully nostalgic when reading this book aloud or just for a look-see, even though “Trouble in Troublesome Creek” is very definitely a book for 6- to 9-year-olds.
If your child believes that summer vacation isn’t long enough and the school year comes too soon, then having this book on your shelf can extend the season. For them, the fun in “Trouble in Troublesome Creek” is spot-on.
Contact Terri Schlichenmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.