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Book Review

This fifth mystery book in " The New Sugar Creek Gang" series by Pauline Hutchens Wilson and Sandy Dengler is published by Moody Publishers.

The Case of the Looney Cruise is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

When the Walkers and the Sugar Creek Gang take a vacation together on a houseboat in Minnesota, they invite another guest, Lisa Glenn. Lisa is a spoiled teenager who constantly belittles Les and his friends. She considers them losers because they respect their parents and don't smoke or drink.

Les watches out for Lisa, such as when he follows her after she has said unkind things to him, so he can lead her back to the houseboat. Later, when all the kids become lost in the woods and must work together to survive a violent storm, Lisa learns more about how the others' lives have changed because they became Christians. In the end, she does not feel that their faith is something to belittle.

Christian Beliefs

This book is written from a Christian worldview. Jesus, prayer, the Bible and God are all discussed. Lynn tells Lisa that the only way to heaven is through the knowledge of Jesus. Tiny recognizes that even this vacation is a gift from God.

Other Belief Systems

Lisa says she will worry about heaven when she is older.

Authority Roles

Lisa, who is not a Christian, defies authority. She does what she wants. At one point she tries to persuade Les that it is okay to drink and smoke because his parents will never know. The Sugar Creek Gang honors and respects authority and recognize that their parents are to be honored and obeyed. Mr. Walker explains to Lisa that he is currently her legal guardian and he expects her to do what is asked of her. Disobeying authority is viewed in a negative light.


Though no profane words are actually printed, Lisa is characterized as using foul language.


Lisa talks about making out and asks if the Sugar Creek Gang ever plays "kissy-face." Les is repulsed by the idea.

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • What does Les think about Lisa when she lights a cigarette?
  • What kinds of things do kids do today to look cool?
  • What influences their choices?
  • What influences your choices?
  • How do you behave around others?
  • How can you make your behavior better reflect Christ?

  • What activities does Lisa think are necessary to have fun?

  • How can you protect yourself from becoming involved in these behaviors?
  • Do you know what you will say or do when you're confronted with these behaviors?
  • Read Proverbs 22:3 and discuss the wisdom of being prepared for temptation.
  • Does being a Christian mean you cannot have fun?
  • What kinds of things do you do to have fun without breaking God's laws?

  • What does Mike say God has done by putting Lisa and the Sugar Creek Gang together?

  • What does Mike's attitude teach you?
  • Can you think of a situation where you were put with someone that you didn't really like?
  • What did God teach you about loving others through this situation?

Additional Comments/Notes

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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