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Woods Runner Paperback – January 11, 2011
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Steering his narrative through an unsentimentalized and deglorified depiction of the American Revolution, Paulsen’s latest work of historical fiction provides a stark glimpse of just how awful the war really was for those who suffered through it. Though his parents are city folk trying to hack out a life on the frontier in Pennsylvania, 13-year-old Samuel is entirely at home in the woodland wilderness that surrounds their little settlement. Soon after word arrives of the uprising in Concord and Lexington, Samuel returns home from a jaunt in the forest to find his home burned down, the neighbors slaughtered, and his parents missing. Samuel tracks his captured parents through the countryside to British-held New York, encountering scalping bands of Iroquois, pillaging squads of mercenary Hessians, and a few hardy, helpful rebels along the way. Paulsen alternates chapters of Samuel’s story with historical notes that illuminate the sobering realities of the Revolution and add some context not found in most history books. Paulsen’s rewarding and fast-paced novel offers an honest assessment of heroism writ both small and large. Grades 6-9. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2010: "A superb reflection on the nature of war."
From the Hardcover edition.
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This kid had no money nor friends that he could call upon for assistance. A lack of clothing and guns and ammunition made him a real prisoner of the deep dark wilderness of Pennsylvania and an open target to any British, Indian or wild animal force looking for prisoners or a quick meal. No money, no food and no relatives or friends to call upon for the very bare necessities of life. How could one so young, inexperienced and ragged rebel avoid sudden capture and death if captured by the British Army, Tories, highwaymen,Indians or natural enemies? What challenged him to continue the venture to save his parents and simply survive the cold wilderness is what legends are made from.
Well, he wasn't alone. There were plenty of other young lads out in the cold with one desire and that was to avoid capture and survive the British, Indians and challenges of the Revolutionary War. And what is really amazing is that these young men were able to survive in great enough numbers to help defeat the British, pacify the Native Americans and make a major contribution to AMERICA'S ULTIMATE VICTORY. It is a story of Colonial strength and determination that ultimately contributed to our final victory and freedom. It speaks of the unusual metal that our early forefathers were made of.
Read what America was truly like to live in during this time period. Learn what America looked and smelled like. Even better, learn how our forefathers were able to survive all odds and help bring the American dream to light. Where did all this strength and determination come from? I think it is a characteristic that all nations have come to recognize from true Americans. Simply stated, "Don't Tread On Me."
And we put our muskets where our mouths are. And made the ultimate sacrifice to insure our colonial victory against all odds.
I think the book was fine because it's educational and suspenseful, and it shows how things were like back in the war between the Americans and the British. The reason I didn't give it four or five stars was because it did not have much excitement, and things moved kind of slowly. Overall, it's a great book for education, but fine if you want to read it for fun.
Review by Thomas, Age 10