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Woods Runner Paperback – January 11, 2011
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From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The story begins as most classic Paulsen's do, in the woods, and quickly segues into the encroaching war. In an effort to set the historical context, Paulsen augments the third-person omniscient chapters with short notes (one to two page) to help the reader understand the historical context of the story.
Paulsen's arrangement of alternating fiction and non-fiction is like having a friendly history teacher giving you short bursts of pertinent information while you are reading. The inclusion of the historical context is why this book is perfect for literature circles or a class read-aloud. At only 161 pages, the book is written for ages twelve and up. The depiction of war and how impacts both soldiers and local families is realistic and somewhat graphic, so squeamish people might squirm. The descriptions are not gratuitous or over-the-top, however, and add to the authenticity of Paulsen's writing.
In New York State, 7th grade students study American history, so WOODS RUNNER would be a great offering for students who like action and read at a normal reading level. It also could be supplemental reading for an older student who has a lower reading level. If you are a teacher or librarian, make sure you add this one to your mix! Parents, if your child loves this popular author or gritty historical fiction, make sure to add it to your gift list. As an added bonus, an author study kit will be available through the publisher Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House.
I recommend L.M. Elliott's Give Me Liberty for how it shows how political events on the eve of the war impact ordinary Virginians. Also, Ann Rinaldi's The Fifth of March for her excellent portrayal of life in 1770 British army occupied Boston, with a nice love story thrown in. As for stories showing how inexperienced teenage soldiers cope with their first battle, I have yet to see any book as good as my own two, Patriots and Gone to Meet the British.
Now I'm adding WOODS RUNNER to this short "recommended" list. It has all the elements I consider essential to a good children's novel: a main character the reader can identify with, and it's exciting, suspenseful, fast paced and easy to read. Gary Paulsen's description of how Samuel uses his woods skills is right on, as well as the boy's feelings and thoughts. The story is believable, and I read it straight through to see how the conflict was resolved.
However, nearly every chapter had an extra page or two after it where Paulsen provided historical context info that took me out of the moment; those pages would have been better placed in a lengthy Afterword. I suspect this book will be around for a few decades.
If Mr.Read more ›
In WOODS RUNNER, Gary Paulsen takes readers inside the American Revolution. It is not the history book version, but instead, the story of one young boy's fight to survive and save his parents.
Thirteen-year-old Samuel loves the woods. He spends his time exploring the forest and hunting for game to feed his family. One day while in the woods, Samuel sees black smoke in the distance. The longer he watches the smoke, the more uncomfortable he feels.
He heads for home, but when he arrives, he discovers his house and all of the other buildings in his small settlement burned to the ground. As he searches for survivors, he finds casualties, but his parents are not among them. He stays long enough to bury those who were killed, and then he heads off in search of his parents.
Samuel travels cautiously. He keeps to the brush and ducks for cover whenever he hears a noise. As he follows the trail of the Redcoats, he hears news about how they are traveling toward New York, where most prisoners are being held. His goal is to get there, too, and rescue his mother and father.
Along the way, Samuel witnesses horrible scenes of death and destruction. He is badly injured in one attack, but thanks to the help of strangers, he recovers enough to continue his journey. Other strangers also step in and lend a helping hand as Samuel heads east.
Gary Paulsen not only tells Samuel's adventurous tale, but he also inserts factual information telling about the British, the Colonists, and others involved in this tumultuous time in history. WOODS RUNNER is definitely not your typical, boring historical recap. There is action, suspense, and touching moments about what it was like to live and die during the American Revolution.
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I chose a 4 star rating because there wasn't a lot of action in the story as I hoped there would be. It was a great story all in all though.Published 2 days ago by Kristi Janicek
Well written. Gives a very good outlook on the Revolutionary War @ how it affected the American citizen. Good book for all ages.Published 29 days ago by Judith
Amazon, well done. The book is what it is, classic for kids.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The author of the book Woods Runner, is Gary Paulsen. In this story 12 year old Samuel fought through lots of pain, being struck in the head by a Tomahawk, being crushed by a tree... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
My son is 13 and really enjoyed this book. He had to do a report/presentation on it and everyone really liked hearing about this story. I would definitely recommend this book.Published 2 months ago by J. Brown
Samuel lives on the new frontier far away from the settlements in Pennsylvania. He has heard about the war that the colonists were fighting against the British, but he really... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sandra
Gary Paulsen includes short informational snippets throughout the book that helps the reader understand the story line. Read morePublished 3 months ago by S. R. Jones
Bought this for my son, Good,new condition, Story sounds interesting. .Published 5 months ago by cj
Paulsen writes to make the point that the American Revolution was not a "good war" in which everyone was led by the highest ideals or behaved as gentlemen - and this often... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Keith C.