From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Van Leeuwen brings the excitement and danger of life on the frontier vibrantly to life. Daniel
, 11, Will, 9, and their father travel to Ohio in 1803 to claim their new land. After hastily building a cabin, Pa returns home to Pennsylvania to fetch Ma and the younger children, intending to come back five or six weeks later. The boys first treat their time alone as an adventure, exploring the woods and fishing in the creek. However, as the weeks stretch into months with still no sign of their parents, the brothers must shift their focus to withstanding the winter. Luckily, a Native American trapper notices them and teaches them some basic survival skills. Still, as snow piles up around them, the youngsters realize how fierce the outdoors can be. Excellent pacing is what makes this novel work so well. From an action-packed beginning to the challenges of a difficult winter, the suspense builds consistently. The boys' struggle is portrayed realistically, without sugarcoating nature's harshness. Daniel and Will also grow and mature as they learn to rely on themselves, their wits, and one another. Not only is this a relevant tie-in to frontier studies, but it is also a good story.–Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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Gr. 5-7. Daniel
, almost 12, and 9-year-old Will are on their own after Pa leaves Ohio to go back to Pennsylvania to fetch Ma and the rest of the children. The boys have only an axe and two knives to chop wood and defend themselves if necessary. Trouble Creek provides them water, but there's barely enough food to last the five or six weeks before Pa and the family return. An old Indian shows up and teaches the boys how to set snares and to "look close" at the natural world, a talent that serves them well as the bitter winter closes in, and the boys, who are still alone, must construct snowshoes from branches, coats from a blanket, and rabbit fur hats and gloves. The boys' resilience is believable, as is their relationship, and the story, based on an actual incident that occurred in 1803, is a dynamic picture of survival in the wilderness. Fans of Gary Paulsen's living-on-the-edge adventures will be well pleased. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.