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Children's Fiction Farm & Ranch Life

Thunder Creek Ranch

by (author) Sonya Spreen Bates

illustrated by Kasia Charko

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2013
Farm & Ranch Life, Siblings, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3
  • Reading age: 6 to 8


In their fourth adventure together, Jake and his younger brother, Tommy, visit their grandparents' farm, Thunder Creek Ranch. When Jake spots a kid on the neighbor's farm, he goes over to investigate and meets Cory McNash, a city kid. Cory thinks he's tough and likes to brag. He offers Jake a ride on a quad bike, and Jake can't resist.

When Cory leaves a gate open and a young calf chases Tommy over the creek and into the woods, Jake and Cory follow on the quad. There's a storm coming, and they soon discover why the trickle of water in the creekbed is called Thunder Creek. The boys are stranded, and the tiny creek in now a raging torrent too dangerous to cross.

About the authors

Sonya Spreen Bates' profile page

Pamela McDowell’s first career was in education, teaching junior high and high school. She began writing when she left teaching and has now written more than twenty nonfiction books for children. Pamela grew up in Alberta and enjoys writing about the diverse animals and habitats of her home province. Ospreys in Danger is her first work of fiction. Pamela lives in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband, two kids and an Australian shepherd. For more information, visit


Kasia Charko's profile page


  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Editorial Reviews

"A well-written story divided into short chapters, each one brimming with excitement. Full-page illustrations done by Kasia Charko enhance the tale by highlighting both the action in the story as well as the rich and detailed landscape of the hilly farmland, raging creek, and dense forest...A fun, easy-to-read addition to Sonya Spreen Bates' series about the brothers Jake and Tommy. With constant action, interesting settings, and character relationships that are true to real life, this is a good choice for those looking for a realistic adventure story."

CM Magazine

"Has characters that are believable and easy to relate to...This book would appeal to young readers who enjoy adventure and ranch life."

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

Thunder Creek Ranch

Jake and his little brother Tommy return for their fourth appearance in the Orca Echoes series. While visiting their grandparents’ ranch, one bad decision in the morning suddenly makes the whole day go awry. Action packed from start to finish, the boys and their difficult new acquaintance Cory climb trees, steal a quad, chase escaped cattle, get caught in a thunderstorm and are stranded by a flash flood. Within this short format, Bates has created a conflict-driven plot, realistic dialogue and relationships that will resonate with young readers. As a result, both those who know the characters already as well as those who are meeting them for the first time will enjoy this lively outdoor adventure.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

Other titles by Sonya Spreen Bates

Other titles by Kasia Charko