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Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
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Woods Runner

by Gary Paulsen

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This book is about a 13 year old boy trying to save his family from the Red Coats during the revolutionary war. On the way he finds a little girl who had her parents killed.

I thought this book was a good book for people who like action and history. I also liked it because it was very detailed and I learned a lot about the revolutionary war. ( )
  tiger.rose | Jan 20, 2014 |
Even though I'm sure I'm well beyond the age of the intended audience for "Woods Runner," the book kept me interested from beginning to end. It is a great story for both history buffs and wilderness lovers, since Samuel's story of survival during the War for Independence combines both. Not being American and therefore not well-versed in the goings-on during this war, I actually enjoyed the fact that Paulsen alternates the story with occasional one-page tidbits of information about the war and the conditions that real people lived through while it was going on. The story does not sugar-coat the realities of war and life in the wilderness--Paulsen does not shy away from mentioning and even describing brutality and bodily fluids, which makes it interesting even for older readers just coming to the book for the first time. One does not get the feeling of reading a watered-down "kids' book."

One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the fair treatment of the subject matter. This being an American book about the American Revolution, I was a bit worried that I was getting into a story that would continually glorify the patriots and make them out to be fearless heroes fighting the evil, soulless British. I needn't have been concerned. Paulsen gives credit where credit is due (for example, he acknowledges the patriots for fighting for their independence against enormous odds), but he does not ignore the less admirable, human side of battle (for example, the fact that some volunteer American troops would beat a hasty retreat upon seeing walls of British bayonets). This holds true for both the British and the Americans in the story, and Paulsen even includes several author's notes to explain his treatment of the subject.

The main aspect of "Woods Runner" that I was not crazy about was the fact that some of the characters, even main characters, can seem a little unrealistic and one-dimensional. For me, this even included Samuel himself, who, at thirteen, seemed far too stoic and mature to be believable. I understand, as Paulsen mentions, that young people at that time were forced to grow up a lot more quickly than young people today, but I still would have expected Samuel to be wracked with worry for his parents--at least for a longer period of time than he is in the story--and be afraid for his life, but he mostly just plods along determinedly and does not have much internal dialogue. Conversely, his parents and several other adults seem too young and trusting for their age, and are oddly willing to blindly allow Samuel to lead them into possibly life-threatening situations just because he survives well in the wilderness. This took something away from the otherwise pretty realistic (or, at least, realistic-feeling) story for me.

Overall, "Woods Runner" is an enjoyable book that I would recommend to both people my own age and those for whom it was intended. If you are interested in hearing a (fairly) realistic, down-to-earth account of the blood, gore, bravery, and loss that occurs during a war, and/or enjoy tales of wilderness survival, definitely give it a try. ( )
  athenaharmony | Aug 21, 2013 |
WATCH BOOK TRAILER

Samuel’s parents have been taken from their home in colonial Pennsylvania by the British and the Iroquois right before the onset of the Revolutionary War. Samuel has been fending for himself in the woods for years and is determined to use his skills to rescue his parents--even if it means he has to track them to New York City and British headquarters.
  KilmerMSLibrary | Apr 30, 2013 |
Great historical fiction. Will keep kids interested and the added historical notes do not detract from the readability. Great as a curriculum addition. ( )
  librarian1204 | Apr 27, 2013 |
Excellent historical fiction. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
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The story is instantly involving; less effective are curious single-page history lessons that break it up (with headings like “Frontier Life” and “War Orphans”).
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037585908X, Paperback)

Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war against the King that American patriots have begun near Boston.

But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for the patriot cause. And he learns that he must go deep into enemy territory to find his parents: all the way to the British headquarters, New York City.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:34 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

From his 1776 Pennsylvania homestead, thirteen-year-old Samuel, who is a highly-skilled woodsman, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Indians who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community. Includes historical notes.… (more)

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