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The Skeleton Tree Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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Praise for The Skeleton Tree:
“Unsettling and compelling, a gripping, evocative read.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Fans of Hatchet and Lord of the Flies will be drawn to this harrowing survival story from Lawrence (The Winter Pony), which offers psychological suspense and action in equal measure. The boys’ exploration of rugged territory and the mysterious “skeleton tree” with coffins in its branches neatly parallels their individual quests to make sense of recent losses and the lives they have left behind.” —Publishers Weekly
"An emotionally engaging and heart-pounding read." —The Horn Book Review
“This is not a typical survival tale ... the focus is on the rocky and evolving relationship between the two boys. Though Frank is cruel and Chris is innocent, readers come to understand that each boy is much more than he appears.” —School Library Journal
More Praise for Iain Lawrence:
★ "From the evocative jacket painting of a moonlit shipwreck to the superb characterizations, hair-raising plot and authentic period details, Lawrence's fiction is first-rate." —Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Fast-moving, mesmerizing, this is a tale in the grand tradition of Robert Louis Stevenson and Leon Garfield.”—The Horn Book Magazine on The Wreckers
About the Author
Iain Lawrence grew up moving all over Canada with his family. He worked in logging, fishing, and even as a forest-fire fighter before studying journalism in Vancouver and working at newspapers for ten years. He is the author of fifteen books for young readers, including this one, and has received many accolades, including the Governor General’s Award and the California Young Reader Medal. He lives in the Gulf Islands with his companion, Kristin, and their dog and cat. He invites you to visit him online at iainlawrence.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main character is stranded after their boat sinks, and he's stranded with someone who's antisocial. He's a nice kid and stranded with a bully. There is no civilization but they find a small stranded cabin. Their fight to survive against nature is basically the whole book.
But their fight to survive eventually pull the two boys closer. And the interesting thing, is that they never change too much. The bully still has a lot of the same characteristics, but the other boy sees them a little different. The bully does eventually open up more and let the main character in his life. The main character gets stronger and stands up for himself more. The relationship seems really real.
I don't want to give up much, but I'm not sad I read the book. I liked it. It is bleak and depressing, but it's a good story about trying to survive in a bleak and depressing situation with someone you don't get along with--and learning to make the best of it.
Oh, and I really like the raven head on the cover, but I didn't see it till I finished the book. Is it obvious? Before I realized it, I looked at the cover and kept wondering why the cliff hangs over so far...
Chris, a gentle youth with an active imagination, is bullied by the boastful and always angry Frank who carries a secret with him that fuels his behavior. A supply of matches allows them to keep warm but as winter approaches the spawning salmon are gone. The boys discover a box of human skeletons suspended from a tree and come across a very large brown bear. They also face wolves, ravens and other bears in the forest they now call home.
The plot is very exciting and gripping as the author’s craft compels the readers to move from tone page to the next. The author wrote the book for ages 8-12 but I’m sure readers of any age will enjoy this story filled with adventure, tense moments, and lessons about relationships and survival.
A native Canadian, Iain Lawrence was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who studied journalism in college and then became an author of fiction books for children and young adults. He sold his first book in 1994 and in 2007 Random House reported that he had sold more than one mission books in North America. He has authored some 14 books. Before becoming an author Lawrence enjoyed a varied life, logging in Ontario, salmon fishing, picking daffodils at Easter, inflating balloons and setting up skittles at a travelling carnival, cleaning streams in the Rockies, fighting forest fires on Vancouver Island, canoeing on rivers and sailing on the ocean.
Without spoiling the ending the book does not wrap up in a world of sunshine and lollypops but I think young adult readers are well equipped to handle a world that contains disapointments and unwanted endings.