Sunday, April 3, 2011

Woods Runner

Paulsen, G. (2010). Woods Runner. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

Plot Summary:
Samuel lives in a settlement in the woods with his parents. The woods are all that Samuel has ever known and are as much his home as the cabin where his family resides. Briefly after hearing news of fighting between the settlers and the British, Samuel returns from hunting to find his parents missing and his cabin home burned down as well as those of his neighbors. Samuel, an excellent hunter, tracks his parent's captors until he is injured by a tomahawk. Samuel is nursed back to health by rebels who inform him that his parent's were taken captive by British soldiers. Samuel continues on his way gaining an eight year-old companion, named Annie, orphaned after British soldiers killed her parents. On their journey to find Samuel's parents, they meet Abner, a Scottish trader, who works to help the Patriot's cause. It is with the help of Abner and his friend Matthew that Samuel is able to locate his parents in New York and free them.

Gary Paulsen does such a great job with showing the strength, determination, and complexities of his male protagonists. Samuel is a wonderful example of the many young boys forced to grow up quickly during the Revolutionary War. Paulsen includes historical information at the beginning of each chapter detailing certain events or explanations of certain practices that took place during the Revolutionary War. These were interesting and helpful in providing background for the story. This is an excellent story that will be very interesting to young readers, which also provides a great deal of historical details.

historical fiction

Reading Level:
Ages 9 - 12

Revolutionary War, self-identity, loss

Character Names/Descriptions:
Samuel Lehi Smith: 10 years-old;
Abigail Smith: Samuel's mother; captured by the British
Olin Smith: Samuel's father; captured by the British
Annie Clark: 8 year-old girl; her parents were killed by Hessians (German soldiers assisting the British); adopted by Samuel and his family
John Cooper (Coop): rebel looking to join up with the Patriots; nurses Samuel back to health after he is wounded by a tomahawk
Abner McDougal: Scottish tinker; assists the Patriots; helps Samuel find and save his parents
Matthew: friend of Abner's who helps Samuel's parents escape

Ten year-old Samuel is forced to grow up fast as he seeks out his parents who were captured by British soldiers.

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