If this post seem familiar, or you’re curious as to why the video says “welcome to Kenna’s World,” it’s because I am switching my blog from kennahartian.com, to goodcleanreads.com. The first several posts are all going to be copied from there. 🙂
I recommend this series. It’s written by C.R. Hedgecock, and has practically no content concerns and can be read by all ages. It makes for an engaging read-aloud, or read alone (though adults and older children might get slightly bored), and the Biblical lessons encourage kids to act in a godly way.
For an affiliate link to all the books, click here.
Keep Reading for a full review!
Important Background Info:
There are currently 8 books in this series. The titles of the books (in order) are Summer of Suspense, Peril on Providence Island, Riddle of the Ruby Ring, The Treacherous Trail, Prisoner of the Pyrenees, Iceland Intrigue, Hunting in the Highlands, and finally Rescue in the Rockies. Each book is its own separate story, though they do tie into each other somewhat (especially books 5 and 6).
The series focuses on a Christian homeschool family of six: Mr. and Mrs. Baker, Phil (who is the oldest), Abby an Andy (twins who are a couple years younger than Phil), and finally Tom (the baby of the family). The Bakers live on a ranch. There are a couple other characters who almost always get pulled into the story – Mr. Jigson and Detective Mortimer. Other characters offten make repeat appearences as well.
Summaries for the books are at the bottom of this post (with affiliate links), because there are eight books and the summaries are long!
What I liked:
The author choose to write the book so that the whole family (including the parents) is involved in each adventure, and the ages of the children span anywhere between 6 – 21 (over the course of the whole series). She was concerned about the Biblicalness of the worldview children got from reading stories where adults were hardly around.
I also really appreciated that some of the main “kid” characters are 17 years and up. Usually this doesn’t happen, or if it does, it’s in a young adult book (and those tend to be extremely inappropriate).
As mentioned (or inferred) above, these books are written from a Christian worldview, and each book contains Scripture and Biblical lessons. Families could talk about how the family used scripture during harrowing times to bring them peace and reassurance. Why is it important to memorize scripture? Families could also use this as a jumping board to memorizing some scripture as a family.
The Baker Family Adventures are very easy to read, and as there aren’t a lot of content concerns, it makes a great read-aloud for the whole family. Because the main characters’ ages span a wide range, everyone in the family feels included in what is happening.
Each book is interesting (though in my opinion, they get more interesting towards the end of the series), and I like reading them.
What I didn’t like:
Sometimes the books (characters, plot, etc.) seemed very stereotypical, which was slightly annoying. There were also a couple of small parts I found boring.
Occasionally a lesson or character felt as if it was forced into the story, and sometimes the actual writing of the story felt sloppy.
There is a misprint in two spots in book six – a portion of the text is printed twice.
There really wasn’t anything to be worried about at all. There are a couple of times a character lies because they are a spy or to escape an evil organization. This could provide a great springboard for a discussion on lying – is it ever right to lie? Even when it might save yourself or others?
A character “dies” (though he is only pretending and you do know right away).
In one book it is very briefly mentioned that a character is immodestly dressed.
These books make a great family read-aloud. There are practically no content concerns, the ages of the characters means the whole family will feel included in the story, and Biblical lessons encourage children to act in a godly way.
These books make an enjoyable read-alone for any child from older elementary to teenagers. Though adults and children might get slightly bored, I recommend reading them if you’re in need of a homey series.
Affiliate links and book summaries:
Summer of Suspense,
Peril on Providence Island,
Riddle of the Ruby Ring,
The Treacherous Trail,
Prisoner of the Pyrenees,
Hunting in the Highlands,
Rescue in the Rockies
Book Summaries (all taken from the author’s website):
Summer of Suspense:
“When Phil, Abby, Andy, and Tom Baker hear that their cousin Millie will visit their farm for the summer, little do they imagine what a dreary time they will have with the snobbish girl. But when Millie disappears, life quickly becomes anything but dreary. What starts out as a summer of chores and horse-riding on the farm turns into a cross-country adventure, as the Bakers find themselves matching wits with a notorious jewelry thief who pulls them into her web. Aided by a seasoned detective, the Bakers confront numerous dangers in their search for Millie, all while attempting to foil the plot of a major crime ring — making it a summer they will never forget.
Filled with mystery and intrigue, Summer of Suspense is about Christian courage, humility, submission to authority, and repentance.”
Peril in Providence:
“The Bakers are full of excitement as they head to the English countryside to celebrate Grandfather Wilson’s eightieth birthday. When an elderly neighbor with Alzheimer’s disease tells a tale of treasure lost on the high seas, the Bakers are sure she has confused reality with fiction. But as they find information that supports Old Marge’s story, they begin wondering whether there is truth in it after all.
Can the discovery of an ancient treasure help Old Marge stay in her beloved cottage and out of a nursing home? This question sends the Bakers on a swashbuckling adventure of mystery and peril, following an old diary through mysterious caves and a maze of clues in search of the missing treasure. Along the way, their quest is marked by amazing providences that point to this key conclusion: God’s ways are always right.”
Riddle of the Ruby Ring:
“The skies are clear, the weather is beautiful, and the Bakers are eager to welcome a new family, the Wilburs, to the farm next-door. Phil, Abby, Andy, and Tom Baker are learning how to relate to their new friends when they discover a mysterious crate hiding an ancient ruby ring which triggers strange activity on the Wilburs’ farm. A trail of clues leads to two conflicting stories of strife in the Old West, but it seems that the theft and aggression surrounding this ring haven’t stayed in the past. When the safety of both families is threatened, it’s up to the Bakers to figure out what is going on before it’s too late.
Can the Bakers bring an end to a legacy of conflict and restore honor to a tarnished family name? Can Andy learn the secret of his older brother’s courage? And, can they solve the baffling riddle of the ruby ring?”
The Treacherous Trail:
“The Bakers and the Wilburs have become such good friends that they decide to vacation together at a lovely wilderness lodge. While the ladies and girls enjoy the lodge’s luxurious facilities, the men and boys go camping in the surrounding wild. They expect their greatest thrills to come from horse-riding, canoeing, and hiking, but the trip changes when they find an injured hiker. Then the hiker disappears with most of their supplies, and they’re stranded with little food, no communication, and a long trip back to civilization. What’s more — there are some very strange things going on in this forest, and the mysterious hiker seems to be at the center of them. Mr. Baker must get his team back to safety with no supplies or means of contact, saddled with a thief who will not speak. Phil is forced to act like a criminal when thrown into a company of bad men, and the twins must survive in the wilderness with a man they do not trust.
Who is really Jigson? What is going on in the forest? And will they come out alive?”
Prisoner of the Pyrenees:
“The Bakers are minding their own business when Briosa Del Quera bursts into their lives. She is an orphaned Catalan girl who is still reeling from her grandfather’s death. His last words instructed her to find people called ‘Baker’ and get in contact with a secret agent they know—but Jigson has gone missing in suspicious circumstances and not even his agency is able to contact him.
Detective Mortimer says that Mr. Jigson was last seen in the Pyrenees mountains, and the Bakers are determined to find him and help Briosa get to the bottom of the plot against her grandfather. But as their journey through northern Spain becomes a breathless race to avoid villains and meet allies, they begin to wonder if Briosa has really told them everything. . . .
From a desperate car-chase to a stealthy escape from a Spanish fortress, the Bakers are tested to the limits of their courage and their trust in the Lord. Can they find Jigson and stop a global conspiracy, or will they all become prisoners of the Pyrenees?”
“Phil, grieving the loss of a friend, is more determined than ever to keep his family out of an adventure – when they discover an organization with a machine that can trigger natural disasters, they know they’ve landed right in the middle of one. The organization leader says he wants to help the world, but with an old enemy at his right hand, his claim is hard to believe.
If the Bakers foil the plan of one villain, could they end up furthering the plans of a worse one? How does Sigurd know so much about both of them?
With the organization on the brink of unleashing destruction in a land of fiery volcanoes, and the future of the world at stake, the Bakers have to beat the countdown of “Earthquake the 2nd” and find out how much of the situation they understand … and how much is still intrigue.”
Hunting in the Highlands:
“After the perils of Iceland, the Baker plan to enjoy a relaxing vacation with their relatives, the Drakes, in Scotland. Andy goes deer stalking with Uncle Clive, Abby goes horse-back riding and sightseeing with Phil and their cousin Millie. Tom travels with his parents to the Isle of Bute.
Three incidents throw the trip into a spiral of confusion, and, scattered across Scotland, the Bakers have clues that don’t seem to belong to the same puzzle. A government weapon has fallen into the hands of a top-secret academy, and the only way to stop the spread of dangerous lies is to find the weapon and discover the significance of the name ‘Haelix.’
Who was the desperate poacher? Can Millie help Detective Mortimer solve the mystery while the Bakers’ favourite secret agent is being pursued in a relentless Highland manhunt? And can Phil and the twins reach him before it’s too late? Find out in Hunting in the Highlands.
A race across the moors, a clue beneath the waves of Loch Ness, and an ever-shifting game of strategy—everyone is hunting for a long-hidden message that could affect the future of the free world.”
Rescue in the Rockies:
“It’s springtime and the Bakers are living the dream. Abby is helping her grandparents set up a guest ranch, Phil is visiting Spain, and Andy and Tom are on the farm entertaining three visitors from Scotland. Mr. Baker suggests a road trip to the guest ranch in Wyoming—what better opportunity for Fergus, Dougal, and Wylie to work hard, meet cowboys, and see the West? The lads are all for it and embrace their new surroundings with gusto, while the Bakers get the chance to re-forge bonds with Grandpa and Grandma Baker.
Mustangs, cattle, and roping lessons fade into the background when Jigson arrives, asking Abby to help identify a woman she met in Iceland once before. Meanwhile, Phil seems to offend Briosa at every turn, and Andy catches sight of Fergus’s growing inner turmoil about where he belongs in the world.
When Fergus feels himself being cornered into a future he doesn’t want, he snaps into the survival instincts he knows so well, seizing the opportunity to live wild in the mountains before anyone can stop him. Unbeknown to him, someone is hunting him down to offer a glimmer of hope that is as appealing as it is dangerous—but will it truly give rest to his soul and end his desperate attempts to be free? Or will it push him farther away from what he yearns for … the only home that can ever satisfy him?”
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