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The Trap Hardcover – September 19, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–Johnny Least-Weasel worries that his grandfather hasn't returned home from checking his trapline. The elderly Indian packed ample supplies onto his snowmobile, but has been out far too long in the plummeting temperatures of the Alaskan winter. Cultural pride and reluctance to disrespect an elder get in the way of search plans until Johnny's grandmother can wait no longer, and she sends him out to find her husband. Only readers know that Albert Least-Weasel has caught his leg in a trap, several feet away from his supplies, and is unable to free himself. Chapters alternate between Albert's dilemma and Johnny's failed attempts to raise concern among his uncles, creating a suspenseful page-turner in which the old man's survival becomes a race against time. Albert's wilderness skills are sharp and described in detail, such as fending off wolves with a spear made from a cedar branch and creating a rabbit snare from a shoelace. Excerpts from a folktale about a warrior named Blackskin appear at the beginning of each chapter, illustrating how present-day life for the Least-Weasel family is still the same, in many ways, as it was for their ancestors. A great addition to survival/adventure collections or Native American fiction.–Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
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Review

"An unforgettable story. Brilliant!"--Ray Bradbury

"In The Trap John Smelcer takes his readers into a frozen world, and keeps us there with a gripping example of talented storytelling. Unforgettable."--Tony Hillerman

"The Trap is a lovely story, beautifully told, the kind that makes you wade in and sink warmly into the cold, cold north of Alaska."--Winston Groom, author of   Forrest Gump
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 1100L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805079394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805079395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,248,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've spent most of my life in Alaska. In all those years, I've experienced Alaska and Nature like few other contemporary writers. I've seen amazing things and witnessed events that seem unbelievable. The power of Alaska, its majesty and it dangers, informs my writing. The diverse Native cultures and their myths also inform my writing. But I don't only write about Alaska (though I have published over 40 books about Alaska to date). Writers can write about anything that interests them and moves them.

To learn more about the author, his books, and his biography, explore his official author's website: www.johnsmelcer.com

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By imaloserdude on November 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you got caught in a trap that you had laid, and you couldn't escape, what would you do? If it was cold outside, below freezing, way, way below freezing, and wolves were threatening, could you focus on staying alive, doing what is necessary to survive another day? Or, would you panic like a wild beast, gnaw through your leg when faced with the possibility of death?

The Trap is a captivating story, the two main characters so real, the dangers so intense. I found myself telling the grandfather and his grandson what to do. I felt as if I were there, in Alaska, feeling the cold and the wind and the steel, hearing the wolves, sensing the dangers. It was simply written, jumping back and forth between the isolated grandfather who was in danger and the concerned grandson who wanted to help those he loved.

How does it end? Does the grandson arrive in time to save his grandfather? Read the story and find out...
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chris Murphy on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
John Smelcer is one of the most underrated authors of our time. This inspirational tale of courage in the midst of difficult circumstances was difficult to put down! The story serves to captivate the imagination while educating the reader into the unfamiliar traditions of Native Alaskan culture. This book is one of those rare works that is worth every moment spent reading! This poignant, heart-wrenching tale is worth keeping forever in your personal library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A. Caldwell on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must read. It is an excellent, original, and compelling story, written authentically, that is told in the voice of an old-fashioned story teller. I liked its simplicity, as though the book itself were a part of Alaska's landscape, its portrayal of nature's indifference. And how the book spotlights family relationships. Also, the Indian mystical stories that begin each chapter juxtaposed with reality, really bring it home. Read it, you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By zz-neena on July 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
More than just a suspenseful story of survival in the wild (which it is) The Trap speaks of the vanishing traditions of an ancient people.

If you need to teach a Common Core unit on survival, forget the others and choose The Trap!
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By Sandy on November 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story reminds me of Jack London's books. It is so beautifully told, and the author obviously knows nature and survival in the cold much better than the vast majority of writers.

This book is slow and quiet. There are not the exciting, drama-filled moments as in today's books. Some young people won't be attracted to it. But it is a great book, with an Accelerated Reader level of 6.2. There is no inappropriate language, which is a rare things these days in junior high books.

Johnny's grandfather gets caught in his trap when he goes to check it, and it takes several days before Johnny goes to check on him because they know he could be on his way down. By then it is just about too late.
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By JRP on September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for a friend and he loved it and has since passed it on to another friend for them to read.
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