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Book Review

Problems in Plymouth by Marianne Hering and Marshal Younger has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the sixth book in “The Imagination Station” 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

After Mr. Whittaker visited his ancestor Albert in medieval England, valuable treasures began to disappear from Lord Darkthorn's collection. If the treasures weren't returned, Albert would be punished and locked in a tower. The Imagination Station wouldn't work for Mr. Whittaker, because he left a family ring in the past, and the machine thought he was still there.

Since Mr. Whittaker couldn't go himself, cousins Patrick and Beth went on missions to retrieve the treasures and save Albert. Their fourth trip took them to England where they discovered the real thief and cleared Albert's name. Before Hugh, the thief, could be caught and punished, he stole Mr. Whittaker's ring, which allowed him to travel through time. Beth and Patrick followed him to keep him from changing history. On their last trip, they were able to retrieve the ring from Hugh but not before he jumped through time once again.

After Patrick and Beth return to Whit's End, Mr. Whittaker is able to trace Hugh to Plymouth in 1621. Even though the ring has been returned, the Imagination Station still believes that Hugh is Mr. Whittaker and won't allow Mr. Whittaker to travel back in time.

Mr. Whittaker asks Beth and Patrick to help him one last time by returning Hugh to medieval England and Lord Darkthorn's castle. The cousins agree, so Mr. Whittaker gives them the proper clothing and a few gifts. He gives Beth a beautiful golden mirror and Patrick a mysterious leather pouch. Mr. Whittaker tells them if they grab Hugh and put on the ring, the three of them will all travel back to England.

Beth and Patrick enter the Imagination Station and arrive in a thick forest. Beth and Patrick see Hugh a little ways off and attempt to sneak up on him. Hugh hears them coming, so Patrick and Beth explain that they are just trying to send him home and do what's right. Hugh doesn't want to go back, however, because he knows he will be arrested and imprisoned. He states that what Patrick and Beth think is right is not the same as what Hugh thinks is right. Hugh suddenly runs away. Beth and Patrick turn around and see several Native American warriors approaching them with drawn weapons.

The warriors grab the cousins, lead them to a Native American camp and shove them into a teepee. Inside the teepee is a Pilgrim boy named John, who explains that he is being kept as a prisoner. He got lost in the woods and was captured by warriors. A Native American man comes into the teepee and beckons for the three children to follow him. He takes them to the chief.

Chief Aspinet accuses them of being spies. John states that he simply got lost in the woods and couldn't find his way back to his village. Aspinet tells him that he never should have left his village and that John's people have caused the Native Americans great suffering. John protests that he and the others in his village want to be friends with the natives, but Aspinet points out that the villagers stole corn from his people and that friends should not steal from each other.

A small boat with John's father and a few other Pilgrim men approach the camp. The Pilgrims get out of the boat carrying their muskets and are faced by a line of armed Native American warriors. There is a tense standoff before the Pilgrims lower their weapons as a sign of peace. The Pilgrims and Native Americans begin trading, and Aspinet brings out the three children to use as bargaining tools.

Aspinet asks the Pilgrims' governor, a man named Bradford, what he will give in exchange for the children. Bradford offers Aspinet a steel hunting-knife, and Aspinet releases John. Bradford only has one more knife, however, which he trades for Patrick. Bradford offers a basket of beads, which is all he has left to trade, for Beth, but Aspinet refuses.

Beth offers him the golden mirror from Mr. Whittaker in exchange for her freedom. Aspinet accepts, and the Pilgrims leave with John, Beth and Patrick. As they board the boat, Aspinet reminds them that they still owe his people several baskets of corn.

As the boat arrives at the Pilgrims' village, a man rushes down the shore to meet them. He explains that Chief Yellow Feather's village has been attacked and that Squanto, who has been friendly to the Pilgrims, has been kidnapped. The Pilgrims have a treaty with Chief Yellow Feather that they will each fight for the other if necessary. Governor Bradford calls a meeting to decide what to do. Some don't want to fight for Chief Yellow Feather, but Bradford insists that it is their duty as Christians to honor the treaty. The Pilgrim men plan to leave on a rescue mission the next day.

Beth and Patrick decide that they should follow the men, believing that Hugh is probably involved in the kidnapping, but are stopped by John's father, who tells them to help with the chores. The rescue party returns with three badly injured Native Americans.

Beth helps the village doctor treat their wounds. She learns that Chief Yellow Feather's village was never attacked and that Squanto wasn't kidnapped. The three wounded natives were accidentally shot by the Pilgrims while they were searching for Squanto. Beth thinks that Hugh must have started the rumor.

As soon as their wounds are cared for, the Native Americans leave. The Pilgrims worry that Yellow Feather’s people will attack in retaliation, and they begin preparing for war. Patrick and Beth see John approach the military captain. John is distraught because someone stole his gun. He believes it was the Native Americans, but Patrick and Beth realize that it was probably Hugh.

Suddenly a scout brings the news that an army of Native Americans is approaching the village. The Pilgrims line up. They prepare to fire their muskets. A Native American fires a single arrow into a nearby tree. The arrow has a message attached to it that requests peace.

Squanto comes out of the woods with several other men and explains that the injured natives understand that the Pilgrims were simply trying to honor the treaty and rescue Squanto. The Native Americans and Pilgrims decide to hold a feast to honor the treaty and their friendship, which becomes the first Thanksgiving.

Patrick and Beth realize during the feast that since Hugh has a musket, he will want gunpowder and bullets. Patrick asks the Pilgrims' military captain if anyone is guarding the weapons store. The captain explains that John's father is keeping an eye on everything. After the feast, however, Patrick sees John and his father participating in a military demonstration, leaving no one to guard the storehouse. Patrick and Beth rush to check on it. Hugh is already there with his loaded musket.

Hugh threatens Patrick and Beth with the gun and demands that they return Mr. Whittaker's ring to him. Patrick gives him the pouch from Mr. Whittaker instead. Hugh explains his plan to take the musket back to his time in order to gain power. Hugh opens the pouch, which contains a ring belonging to Albert instead of the one from Mr. Whittaker. Hugh thinks it is the correct ring and puts it on, but since the ring belongs in medieval England, that's where Hugh ends up as well.

Patrick and Beth use Mr. Whittaker's ring to follow him. Hugh was unable to bring the musket with him, and he appears in a cave with Sir Andrew, who is a friend of Beth and Patrick's. Sir Andrew arrests Hugh and thanks Beth and Patrick for all of their help. Beth and Patrick then return to Whit's End and explain everything to Mr. Whittaker.

Christian Beliefs

John explains that the Pilgrims' leaders found corn and thought it was a gift from God. The Pilgrims praise God when they find John. Bradford asks Patrick and Beth if they came to Plymouth seeking freedom to worship. Bradford states that the Pilgrims will honor the treaty with Chief Yellow Feather because Christians should act with honesty and loyalty.

Beth prays for God to heal the injured Native Americans. Governor Bradford prays before the Thanksgiving feast, thanking God for food, friendship and the freedom to worship Him. Some of the Native Americans pray, too. Mr. Whittaker explains that the Pilgrims went through a lot to freely worship as Christians.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Hugh refuses to go back to his own time because he is avoiding the consequences of his actions. He starts a rumor about Squanto being kidnapped that leads to three Native Americans being injured. He steals a musket and wants to use it in his own time because he believes it will make him more powerful than a king. He also threatens the children with the musket.

Chief Aspinet does not trust the Pilgrims because they stole their baskets of corn. He uses the three children to bargain and almost refuses to release Beth. He asks why he should honor the peace treaty Yellow Feather made with the Pilgrims.

Bradford trades for Patrick and Beth though he doesn't know them or where they came from. He promises to repay Aspinet and the tribe for the stolen baskets of corn. Bradford insists on honoring the treaty with Yellow Feather even if it means risking their lives. He states that it is their duty as Christians to help and that Squanto helped them when they were in need. Bradford does his best to preserve peace with the Native Americans when he believes they are on the brink of war.


John calls the Native Americans Indians and savages, even after he is corrected by Patrick. He says he doesn't care what they are called. He also says that they love trinkets and will probably steal Beth's mirror. John's father also calls the Native Americans savages. Sir Andrew calls Hugh a coward.

Hugh raises his fists as if to fight the cousins when they first find him. The Native American warriors point their bows and arrows at Beth and Patrick and roughly lead the children to the Native American camp. John explains that traders would come to find gold in America and killed many of the Native Americans. The traders also brought a sickness that wiped out whole villages.

When the Pilgrims' boat arrives at Chief Aspinet's camp, warriors armed with bows, arrows and spears greet them. The Pilgrims respond by leaping ashore with their muskets raised, but Bradford instructs his men to lower their weapons, and violence is averted. John tries to wave to his father, but the Native American guard slaps down his hand.

There is a rumor that another tribe attacked Chief Yellow Feather's tribe. One man says that he doesn't want to fight and die protecting “savages.” Bradford says that they will rescue Squanto or die trying. Three natives are accidentally shot by the Pilgrims. They walk slowly and are covered in blood.

Beth and Patrick watch the Pilgrims fire their guns in preparation for an attack. Hugh points a musket at Patrick and threatens him. The Pilgrims' military almost fire on Squanto and the other natives before seeing the message asking for peace.



Discussion Topics

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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

7 and up


Marianne Hering and Marshal Younger






Record Label



A Focus on the Family book in association with Tyndale House Publishers Inc.


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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