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Woodsong Hardcover – August 30, 1990

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Hardcover, August 30, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Paulsen, who has received Newbery Honors for three of his novels, is the best author of man-against-nature adventures writing today. Woodsong is an autobiographical celebration of his longtime love of dogsledding and sled dogs, a love that suffused the pages of his best novel, Dogsong. Woodsong is divided into two parts. In the first part, "Running," Paulsen relates anecdote after anecdote about how his dogs and the frozen, wintery adventures he has had while sledding have taught him to be more human. The anecdotes run the gamut from hilarious to tragic, and truly sing with the wonder, violence and grace of the woods. The second part, "Racing," the pellmell story of Paulsen's first Iditarod--a sled race across the Alaskan wilderness from downtown Anchorage to downtown Nome--burns with feverish intensity as one grueling day follows another. Like Paulsen's novels, Woodsong blends deep introspection with fast-paced action and succeeds admirably on both levels. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

An autobiographical book that gives through spare but vivid language a look at a man who thought, because he was a hunter and a trapper, that he knew about the outdoors. Instead, he discovered he knew very little until he opened himself to the realities of predators and prey, and to the lessons taught to him by the animals he encountered and the sled dogs he trained and raced. This is not a life story, with dates and names and achievements, but rather Paulsen's reflections on the peculiarities and surprises of nature. Some of the lessons are violent and painful, brought on by the natural instincts of wild animals or Paulsen's own mistakes; others are touching or humorous, and convey a sharp sense of observation and awareness of the various personality traits of the dogs he has raised and run. And some are unexplainable--mysteries of nature that would seem incredible if written in a work of fiction. The anecdotal style and rhythmic, sometimes abrupt sentence structure demand close attention, and the switch in the last third of the book to Paulsen's day-by-day account of the Iditarod is sudden, though expected. The Iditarod story is intensely personal, focusing on Paulsen's thoughts, actions, and hallucinations during those 17 days rather than presenting a comprehensive view of the race and the competitors. Both segments of the book generate wonder at the abilities of animals and should introduce fans of Paulsen's fiction to a different type of writing. --Susan Schuller, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1 edition (August 30, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0027702219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0027702217
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,781,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#65 in Books > Teens
#65 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Wood Song is about A man who loves his dogs and adventures. He was living in the woods when the beavers over-populated, so he borrowed his friend's dogsled and some dogs and then he set up a couple hundred mile trapline for beavers.He loved it, and very soon he got good at it, and the huge Alaskian race, called the Iditaron, was coming soon so he entered it, and that lead to a whole new part of the adventurous stoy. I liked this book, because of all the detail that Gary put into it. He did a great job, You could almost see what was happening as you read it. This book strikes the imagination of readers of all ages. I give it 5 stars and 2 thumbs way way up!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wolfe Moffat on July 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a classic tale for anyone who has ever loved dogs, or, to be more specific, any particular dog. I can say that this is also an icy tale that will actually take your breath away as Paulsen describes some of the conditions he's been in with his sled dogs. This is the true story of how he survives in the Minnesota wilderness, and then takes on the bigtime, The Iditarod in Alaska!
When you read this, there are times when you will probably feel different things. Like the feeling some people have had (I have personally) of losing a pet. Or at times, you laugh at the hilarity of some of the things that pets will indeed do that leave you laughing so hard that it almost brings you to tears. Paulsen brings this to life only in the way that he has always used to tell a story. I love it how he describes his, and every man's greatest fear when in The Iditarod, is to scratch. When Paulsen describes this, he compares it to being a leper! He loves his dogs, and talks about how they are practically insane to run. He slightly haunts us with stories of hallucinations as a result of sleep deprivation! Yet, he also describes his most human side throughout the race, describing a cup of hot chocolate given to him by a beautiful blonde. Or how children from the Shageluk school made a pot of Moose chili especially for the mushers, and how he ate 19 bowls because it tasted so great, and then suffered the wonderful indigestion as a result. It is those stories and more, that make this an easy classic, and a read that you find hard to put down!
I first read this about 10 years ago. It still is easy to pick up, and enjoy it from page 1. Awesome work!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JAKE ALEXANDER on March 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Woodsong is a well written story about a determined man and his bond with man's best friend, the dog. As the story begins, he turns from a novice, inexperienced dog runner to a experienced dog runner. He goes from losing his way and standing on deaths front doorstep to making a lifesaving decision only an expert could make. Through many tragedies, joys and sorrows, such as the feeling of seeing the finish at the end of the Iditarod(the most challenging dog race in North America) or having to watch your favorite dog grow old and pass away slowly and not being there when he draws its last breath or when you are shooting off a 40 foot tall cliff and plummeting to the bottom onto a frozen lake. And don't forget staying up all night watching the wolves skulk around the perimeter of your camp and making sure they stay at the perimeter and advance no more. It's a challenging book about 8th grade level but it's worth it. It's a book that really shows you the bond between man and dog. There are life lessons aplenty too. It teaches you things, the hard way, but you will stop and it will make you think, hmmm. It shows you nature has no mercy, something as beautiful as a frozen lake pockmarked with snow can quickly change into a frigid icy pool of death with a simple crack in the ice. There are some more gruesome scenes but they all have a purpose. To prove to you the lesson of only the fittest survive in the wild, they drill home the fact a sick or injured deer is chosen from the herd, chased and hunted down by wolves. It shows you how mercilessly the wolves rip into the deer. It is indeed a gruesome part but a quite important part. There are some parts in it that are a little hard to follow in my opinion such as when he starts talking about life, why are we here, etc. etc.Read more ›
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
Woodsong by Gary Paulsen is a book I will never regret reading. The entire book is non-stop action filled with events that keep you on the edge of your seat. It all starts with the very first page. The beginning is the type of intro that hooks you in and never lets go. From the very first sentence, the suspense makes your palms sweat. The plot becomes part of your life while you are reading the book. You learn things that are not only educational, but emotional lessons that will stick with you your entire life. In a way, the book is hard to relate to. You probably have not and never will be in the situations that the characters are in. However, the concepts of the problems do relate to the average person's way of life. For example, money is fairly tight where the characters live. I know many people who have problems with money and ways to overcome the lack of things such as a computer. The difference that makes this book unusual is the fact that it is true. The main character is the author, Gary Paulsen. Due to this, instead of saying to yourself in the middle of the book, "Gee, I'm glad ths is fiction." You would say,"Boy this guy was brave!" I am obliged to tell about the strong points in this book because there are so many. The suspense and descriptions are vivid. the "hook of the book" reels you in and doesn't let you go. the content is very clear and you don't have to be a genius to get through the vocabulary. There is a happy ending that satisfies your need for "happy-ever afterness." However, unlike a Disney movie it's not all sugarsweet. There is one weak point that is important to include. It wasn't nearly long enough. I wanted it to go on forever.Read more ›
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