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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Thriving Family, a marriage and parenting magazine published by Focus on the Family. It is the first book in the "Bash" series.

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

Eleven-year-old Raymond Boxby’s parents don’t want him playing video games all summer. They send him to stay with his weird cousin, Sebastian “Bash” Hinglehobb, on his cousin’s family’s farm. Bash is the inventive type, always dreaming up new creative endeavors that will get the boys into trouble. He frequently carries around his farming and fishing book (a Bible) and shares what he’s reading.

Shortly after Raymond arrives, Bash takes him cow tipping. Then Bash and some of his friends test Bash’s theory that a person can fly if wearing enough flypaper with live flies stuck to it. Bash’s mother grounds the boys when she catches them riding cows to the ice-cream shop. The boys build a tree fort and camp out one night with Bash’s friend Bonkers. When they get lost in the woods, Bash prays and quotes Scripture about not worrying. He and Bonkers sing “This Little Light of Mine” until they find their way back to the fort.

The boys help Bash’s father bale hay when his helpers fall ill. Although Bash makes the job twice as hard, Bash’s dad reminds the boys that God is patient like a father. Bash’s Sunday school teacher invites him to teach a lesson to the others about David and Goliath. Bash slings rocks across the room and releases animals (including a skunk) as part of his demonstration.

The boys later build a pirate ship filled with farm animals. It sinks in the pond as the boys and their menagerie struggle to get to shore. The boys become “cow uncles” when one of the cows has a calf. The calf almost dies before Raymond gives her the Heimlich maneuver and saves her life. Bash teaches Raymond to fish and waxes philosophical about the Bible. Raymond is still hesitant about Christianity, but he begins thinking more about Jesus.

When Bash and some of his friends take animals to show at the fair, Bash has another opportunity to share his farming and fishing book with his cousin and another boy. Bash explains the steps to salvation, and Raymond accepts Jesus as his Savior. The boys have a final smelly adventure involving a skunk before Raymond’s parents arrive.

Mr. and Mrs. Boxby announce they will be moving closer to the farm. They are thrilled to hear about Raymond’s summer adventures, especially the fact that he has joined the family of God. Raymond and Bash plan for more adventures on the farm.

Christian Beliefs

Raymond’s parents tell him they’ve prayed about sending him to Bash’s for the summer. Raymond feels like they’re pushing him to read the Bible, and he’d rather sleep in on Sundays than attend church. Bash often reads his Bible, which he calls his farming and fishing book, and quotes Scripture. He is confident that God is present and will help him in the circumstances of life. He shares the Roman Road to Salvation message (made up of several verses from the book of Romans), and Bash and another boy pray for Christ’s salvation.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Raymond’s loving parents pray for him often. Bash’s kind, patient mom and dad look out for the boys on the farm and provide discipline when Bash and Raymond make bad choices.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at ThrivingFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

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

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 14


Burton W. Cole, with illustrations by Tom Bancroft






Record Label



BH Kids, an imprint of B&H Publishing Group


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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