North Woods Poachers is an exciting adventure book written
for tween boys (and girls), ages 8-12. The story follows two cousins
(Andy and CJ) and their younger sisters as they set out for their
annual family fishing trip in Canada with their parents. Determined
to make this year more exciting, they gain permission from their
parents to fish less and explore more. Together, they uncover the
secret of the mysterious black planes and exactly what is going
on at the Lodge.
Max Elliott Anderson was a reluctant reader, so he understands the struggle
that many of us face trying to find books that will interest our sons. Max
strives to write compelling adventure and mystery books that will fill this
gap for tween boys. North Woods Poachers would interest girls as
well as boys with its hint of mystery and danger and its modern setting.
North Woods Poachers is a Christian book, but it doesn't
preach at the reader. The children in the book do set several negative
examples: the boys make secret plans together, they sneak out to
explore, they hide the danger of their situation from their parents,
and in one of the final scenes they steal a boat. Thankfully, their
parents confront them about each of these choices, and appropriate
consequences are applied before the story ends. At the beginning
of the book, Andy has a bad attitude about the family camping trip,
but even that is addressed as his parents talk with him about family
traditions and the importance of looking beyond himself.
I wish I could say my 10-year-old son loved this book. I enjoyed
it, and I am sure he will when I finally get him to read it. He
took it to his room, intending to read it, but never did. (It's
summer, and he is too busy to finish a book right now.) I do think
that the cover fails to convey the excitement of the story. Unfortunately,
many reluctant readers judge a book by its cover. Parents might
need to require a set reading period to get their son started in
this book, or perhaps read the first few chapters aloud to incite
interest. I should have.
Overall, North Woods Poachers is an interesting story
for tween boys with a unique setting and plot. Even with its faults,
it is far superior to the (often offensive) twaddle lining the
library shelves targeting this age range.