Cabin on Trouble Creek Review

Cabin on Trouble Creek
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A boy and his father build a cabin in the wilderness. The boy is left alone at the cabin to prepare it for the family. Meanwhile father returns to civilization to collect the rest of the family, which includes younger siblings, Mom, and a new baby. Father doesn't return and boy starts to worry about how he will take care of himself - clothing, food, etc. if father never returns. An Indian mentor enters the picture and teaches the boy how to set snares to catch rabbits and other important life sustaining skills. Boy ends up alone for the most part throughout the winter with an occasional visit from his Indian friend. Father finally returns with family in spring. Seems the family was sick when he returned home to get them and then he got sick. The family is amazed with how well the cabin looks and how the boy fended for himself. Does this sound great to you? Then go read "The Sign of the Beaver," a Newbery Honor Book written by Elizabeth George Speare in 1983. Speare's other fine works of historical fiction for youth include "The Bronze Bow" and "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" both winners of the Newbery Medal.
This book is very well written but I cannot in good conscience rate it higher than a "1" because it is a blatant ripoff of Speare's wonderful book. The only major difference is that in Van Leeuwen's book, two boys are left alone at the cabin instead of one. Everything else in the the synopsis above is identical in the two books. Van Leeuwen could have at least acknowledged Speare's work by including the statement: "inspired by ..."

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