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Scout: The Secret of the Swamp Review by Wayne S. WalkerBy Piet Prins
Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada
Pella, IA 50219
Scout: The Secret of the Swamp was originally published in Dutch as Snuf de hond by Uitgeverij De Vuurbaak, b.v., Barneveld, The Netherlands, and translated into English by Harry der Nederlanden. It was republished in 1996 by Inheritance Publications. Piet Prins was the penname of Pieter Jongeling, who lived from 1909 to 1985, and was a Dutch teacher, journalist, author, and politician. During World War II, he spent some time in a German concentration camp. Inheritance Publications has a whole catalogue of historical fiction for children, teenagers, and adults, including some 18 other books by Prins, such as Anak, The Eskimo Boy, Run, Kevin, Run!, two books in The Four Adventurers series, five books in the Shadow series, two books each in the Sheltie series and the Struggle for Freedom series, three books in the Wambu series, and two more books in the Scout series.
Let me tell you, we LOVED this book about a young Dutch boy, Tom Sanders, whose German shepherd proves himself invaluable when his tracking ability saves his young owner's life, and both of whom assist the Allies during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. From a historical standpoint, it accurately portrays the terribleness of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. From a moral standpoint, it upholds faith in God and trust in the Lord to guide us, while depicting courage, self-sacrifice, and kindness in the face of danger. And just from a literary standpoint, it is filled with excitement and adventure. I did this as a read aloud, and both Mark (13) and Jeremy (eight) really enjoyed it. A little bit of the author's Reformed (Calvinistic) theology shows through in a few places, but for the most part, it is just plain old good reading. I hope to obtain more books by Prins and by others in Inheritance Publication's catalogue.
Language level: 1.
Ages: suitable for anyone.