The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Derwood Inc. Review by Karen Houston

By Jeri Massi
Bob Jones University Press

Jeri Massi has been writing adventures about the youth at the local church in fictional Peabody, WI. Massi came from a broken family, which helps her write realistically and with empathy. This style of writing enables us to befriend Derwood, Inc. (Penny, her brothers and sisters, dad and second mom). Penny still remembers her beloved mother whom she lost in a car accident, and is learning to become an integral part of her new blended family. She’s in seventh grade, an age with many things to ponder and many more to explore!

First, though, she needs to keep her younger brothers and sisters from piling up on her yet again on Saturday night at the cabin. She does find a way, "No! Tonight Penny Derwood sleeps by herself! Alone! In the sanctity of her bed, without eight cold hands, eight cold feet, and four pointy right elbows horning in on her beauty sleep! No [killer] octopus stories!"

Did you enjoy detective antics when you were in fifth grade? Still go for it in seventh? Penny, Jack, and the rest have adventures similar to Inspector Brown, with some frankly surprising twists. Sorry, can’t give away what the mystery is or how the Derwood clan discovers it. However, the game IS afoot, and the kids are ONTO it!

These are not your average teenage whodunits. The kids from church, their dogs, adult family and friends use their own personal growth in the Lord, friendship, family togetherness, sleuthing tactics, and humor to uncover the real goings-on, and exposing the unsavory characters of Peabody. The kids also save a true friend from ugly tragedy (our daughter’s favorite part).

If you ever smuggled the tiniest flashlight underneath your own covers to continue with Nancy Drew or similar characters, you’ll enjoy the three-dimensional, real-life aspect of these tales. The children turn towards the Lord and nearby Christian adults nurture them as they work tirelessly to bring justice to those who “have it coming,” all the while strengthening their relationships with the Lord and each other!

Bob Jones University, founded in 1927, sent their Truth in Action drama team throughout the western US this summer. Their mission teams are located around the globe. Bless BJUP!

-- Product review by: Karen Houston, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine