Monday, May 7, 2012

JBA Post #14: Woods Runner, Gary Paulsen

I remember reading Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, when I was in middle school, so it was fun to read another one of his books.

Woods Runner is set during the Revolutionary War and is about a boy named Samuel, who lives out in the forest with his family. One day, he's hunting for bear, and returns to see that his family's cabin has been burned and the entire settlement they live in has been decimated. He finds the bodies of his neighbors everywhere, but notices that his parents' bodies are not among the dead. This leads him to believe that his parents are in fact still alive, and prisoners of war, so he sets out to follow the attackers and find his parents.

Samuel receives help along the way and even picks up a pseudo-sister when her parents are slaughtered in front of her. Ultimately, Samuel's quest is successful and he is reunited with his parents. But after all that he has seen - all the death and destruction - will he ever be the same?

Each chapter began with a sort of historical note about some aspect of war - war orphans, Revolutionary War weapons, treatment of prisoners, etc. - I found those passages really interesting and they were matched quite nicely with what was going on in the plot. This mixture of history and fiction really helped round out the book and made it go by quickly.

I'd recommend this book mainly to boys, especially those interested in war.

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