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Book Review

This historical fiction story by Candice F. Ransom (illustrated by Den Schofield) is part of the "On My Own History" series published by CarolrhodaBooks Inc. and First Avenue Editions, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group.

Danger at Sand Cave is written for kids ages 7 to 10. 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

It is February, 1925. Ten-year-old Arly Dunbar of Cave City, Ky., watches the soldiers guarding Sand Cave. Inside, an experienced caver named Floyd Collins has been trapped for six days, and tireless diggers attempt to save him. Arly recalls how he and his older cousin, Russell, once visited Floyd at Crystal Cave. Floyd told Arly about crystals that day and even let him keep one.

Now, Arly scurries around getting coffee and running errands for the weary diggers. He wishes he could do something more to help. Days pass, and Arly decides he is small enough to crawl into the cave opening and try to communicate with Floyd. He sneaks past the guards and into the cave. In the process, he drops his lantern and nearly gets himself trapped.

Remembering what Floyd taught him at Crystal Cave, Arly is able to feel his way out. Floyd's dead body is recovered several days later. Arly expresses his regrets about not helping, but Russell assures him he made a valuable contribution to the rescue effort. He tells Arly never to go caving alone, saying they will go together. Arly and Russell remember Floyd and his bravery at a memorial service.

Christian Beliefs

Pastors give sermons at a special memorial for Floyd.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Floyd was kind to Arly, showing him around Crystal Cave and teaching him about caving. Russell assures Arly that he is doing an important job by helping the rescue workers. He comforts Arly after Floyd's death and promises to go caving with the boy.





Discussion Topics

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

  • How does Arly play an important role in the rescue efforts, even though he can't dig in the cave as the adult men are?
  • What are some ways you can help others in your life, even though you're not yet an adult?

  • What risky thing does Arly do in an effort to help Floyd?

  • Why is it so dangerous for him to enter the cave alone?

Additional Comments/Notes

While Arly is a fictional character, caver Floyd Collins was a real person. The account of his death due to a cave collapse in 1925 is true.

This review is brought to you by Focus on the Family, a donor-based ministry. 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.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

7 to 10


Candice F. Ransom






Record Label



CarolrhodaBooks Inc. and First Avenue Editions, divisions of Lerner 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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