Mystery in Crooked Creek Woods

Happy Tree Street Tuesday! Books three and four of the series released last Tuesday, and this week I’m celebrating with a review of book four: Mystery in Crooked Creek Woods. At the bottom of this post, there’s an opportunity to win a copy of both books AND some fun freebies.

  • Author: Amanda Cleary Eastep
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Available Now
  • Series Website
  • Synopsis: While penning a mystery story for their school contest, Jack and Ellison encounter a real-life mystery involving the neighborhood bully.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

…Love your neighbor as yourself…

Mark 12:31

You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.

Lev. 19:15

Spiritual Themes

The book explores what it means to love your neighbor as yourself, especially if your neighbor seems to be your enemy. Partiality is another major theme, as Jack is prepared to convict the neighborhood bully, regardless of whether or not the clues do the same.

What I Liked

This book, we got to know Ruthie a little bit better, as Jack visited her home while working to solve a mystery. It was fun to find out what her bedroom looked like, and to witness her practicing her favorite hobbies.

I liked watching Jack and Ellison step into their personas as wannabe Encyclopedia Brown and Hercule Poirot. (I did NOT realize Poirot was Belgian!) The illustrations going along with these characterizations were neat, too.

The children spend a good deal of time outdoors. While Jack gets into some mischief in the woods, I like reading a book where the children are playing outside and not obsessing over technology. The 90s setting certainly contributes to this, as well.

Jack and Ellison’s story added a silly, but intriguing element to the story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really liked how that ended. The story is spliced into the narrative and its also included, in its entirety, as a back-of-book feature.

The “real life mystery” was a fun twist in the series, especially with that cover! Book four is my favorite cover. I appreciated that Cleary Eastep used the mystery to convey truth, as Jack realized that he was dealing with real people as he tried to put together the clues.

Midge continued to be brilliant. She was my favorite character in this story. (How is she still an elementary schooler?) And her fun facts are great little tidbits of info.

Social Justice

Although book four is a bit “lighter” in this regard than book three, there are a few meaningful references to what the government did to Native Americans, with the inference that the government chose to view the Indigenous people as enemies.

I’m glad that Eastep raised this point, without using the arrowhead as a simple point of interest.

Book Five?

So far, the Tree Street Kids website only lists four books, but I am now hoping that there will be a book five, as well. I’m hooked on the series!

Content Notes

I don’t recall any content that merits noting.

Recommendation Status

This is another fun and educational book in the Tree Street Kids book series. Recommended for middle grade readers or as a family read-aloud!


It is my pleasure to recommend the Tree Street Kids series by Amanda Cleary Eastep and published by Moody Publishers.
If you’re looking for more fun, funny, and faith-based reads for your kids, ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN the newest books in the series: Lions to the Rescue! AND Mystery in Crooked Creek Woods.
The winner will also receive book-themed goodies like:

  • Character bookmarks
  • A TSK pencil
  • A build-your-own fruit snack slingshot kit
  • A TSK clue notebook and pen
  • Stickers


Follow Amanda Cleary Eastep on WordPress OR sign up for her newsletter. Then comment “Done.” Earn an additional entry by answering the question on this post– and my other Tree Street Tuesday posts, throughout July. Giveaway deadline is August 1st.

This giveaway is sponsored by Moody Publishers. Learn more about the books at

QUESTION: What is your favorite mystery novel or movie?

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

4 thoughts on “Mystery in Crooked Creek Woods

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