Friday, September 24, 2010

Jonathan Park & the Secret of the Hidden Cave by Sandy & Pat Roy

book cover

Jonathan Park & the Secret of the Hidden Cave
by Sandy & Pat Roy

ISBN: 0-89051-263-9
Trade Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: 1999, 2001

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, my take:
When two families are forced to shelter in a hidden cave during a violent rainstorm, ten-year-old Jonathan Park meets tom-boy Jessie. The excessive rain is flooding the river to the point it's going to destroy Jessie's family's farm. The kids are excited to find fossils in the cave. Maybe they can sell the fossils to help pay the mortgage on the farm!

But some scam men are determined to buy the farm cheap and sell high. When they catch wind of the kid's plan, they follow them to the cave and shut off the lights with them trapped inside. How will the kids find their way out of the dangerous cave and past the waiting men? And are the fossils even valuable? Read and find out!

Jonathan Park & the Secret of the Hidden Cave is a middle grade adventure story for boys and girls. It's an exciting story about a boy who finds unexpected friendship (and adventure) after some of his old friends rejected him because of his new, Christian beliefs. After the exciting introduction, the pacing slowed a little as backstory information was filled in while the kids explored the cave. Then the tension jump back into high gear. The suspense was mainly from the threat of physical danger due to the flooding and the bad guys.

The characters were engaging, and the descriptions were vivid. Since much of the story occurred in a cave with a scientist parent present, there was some discussion about how long it takes for cave formations to form (like over a bat fossil they find) and how fossils are formed. They even talk about how dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible (though obviously not using that exact term). This information was woven into the adventure and didn't slow the story.

This was a Christian story. The characters do pray for safety, comment that God's in control, and believe that God created the universe as described in the Bible.

There were some nice black and white illustrations. There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable novel as well-written, clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The red 4x4 sped down the muddy road, spraying water from newly formed streams. While his father, Kendall, navigated the unpaved road, ten-year-old Jonathan Park held tightly to the dashboard as the truck dipped and pitched. The windshield wipers flopped helplessly back and forth, unable to keep up with the driving rain. It was a race against time.

"The clouds are getting darker!" Jonathan yelled above the noise.

The sky flashed, temporarily blinding the two as they strained to see through the windshield. A clap of thunder boomed through the noise of the storm. "If we could just make it to Ghost Ranch before dark. It was a mistake to wait for a break in the storm," said Kendall. "I'm sorry, Jonathan, I shouldn't have dragged you out in this!" Hail began pelting the car as if to emphasize his point.

Read the rest of chapter one.


Laura Fabiani said...

I think this would be a perfect book to read to my kids. I have added it to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing.

Genre Reviewer said...

Great! I'm always happy to hear when one of my reviews helps connect a reader with the perfect book for them (and their kids).