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The Skeleton Tree Paperback – December 6, 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...
I thought this story was written well and seemed mostly realistic in the boys’ journey. The story was sad though. It says it’s written for ages 8 to 12. While an eight-year old comfortable with chapter books could read this, I think someone more mature would be able to overlook the disheartening parts of the story and accept it as an interesting tale of survival and friendship. My son didn’t want to read this book because the description reminded him too much of Touching Spirit Bear, a book he tried to read but said it was too savage and depressing to continue. Having read both books, I agree with him to some extent. Overall, this book was alright, but it did leave me in a somber mood.
I understand the concept of not talking down to our children, but I'm a firm believer in getting them to love reading before we throw things that will challenge them in their lap.
Twelve year old, Chris is left feeling lost after the death of his father, so when his daredevil Uncle asks his mom if Chris can spend a few weeks on a sailing trip down the Alaskan Coast, Chris is thrilled and (perhaps rightly so?) asks him Mom to let him go. She does, and less than 48 hours after they embark on the trip-the boat sinks. But Chris isn't alone, instead he is left to traverse the Alaskan wilderness with a Bully names, Frank.
There were some tense moments, and the boys relationship was never forced-the way a bully's relationship with his tormentee is always very natural. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the nuance will be lost on young children, as it isn't necessarily delivered in a way that will grab their attention.
As such, it's hard for me to recommend this book-As an adult, I found some of the situations uncomfortable (though i suppose the author might have meant to do that-the boys ARE stranded in a cold, unforgiving place). My 11 year old, who is a voracious reader and accomplished when it comes to the written word, had a hard time bonding or engaging with either of the main characters.