Danger on Panther Peak, written by Bill Wallace and published by Aladdin in 2008 (earlier publication with Simon Pulse, 1987), is a quick and exciting read for upper elementary students. The story centers around Tom Burke, his family and a new friend, Justin Harris. It is implied that these boys are in the fourth grade. Tom and his family, which includes his older sister Susan, have just moved to his grandfather’s ranch.

Tom loves hearing his grandfather’s hair-raising tales about a place not far from them called Panther Peak. Panthers used to be seen in that vicinity. There are several rugged ridges nearby, Skeeter Ridge and Razorback. A small creek runs between them. The ridge that leads to the top of Panther Peak is less than a mile from there. Grandpa warns Tom to stay away from the area or he might run into a panther.

During the summer Tom decides to do exactly what he has been told not to do—explore the forbidden area. He meets Justin and they spend many days swimming in the creek and exploring. One day Tom comes face to face with a panther. He manages to escape and learns the wisdom firsthand that his grandfather tried to offer him. This reminds me of how we often have to come face to face with danger before the Lord’s laws become written on our hearts.

The children return to school in the fall. One wintry morning Susan has to be rushed to the hospital, due to a near rupture of her appendix. Both of her parents stay with her overnight.

The next morning Tom and his grandpa are in the barn milking cows when suddenly one of the cows kicks Grandpa in the hip and he falls, passing out. It is snowing and the phone lines are dead. With the help of a sled, Tom gets his grandpa into the house. His grandfather awakens for awhile, but Tom knows that if he doesn’t go for help, his grandpa could die. Tom takes the horse and the gun. He must travel through Skeeter Ridge. Frightened and alone, Tom encounters a panther and after one failed attempt to shoot it, he tries a second time. The panther attacks Tom and he passes out.

When he wakes up, he is in the hospital surrounded by his father and others. They are amazed he is alive. Some of them found him with the panther right on top of him. It is a miracle he survived. The panther is dead and all of Tom’s family and friends are going to be fine.

Danger on Panther Peak reminded me that God is always very much in control of our lives.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience, Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister