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Woods Runner
Cover of Woods Runner
Woods Runner
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.
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.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.5
  • Lexile:
    870
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1 CHAPTER 1   

    He was not sure exactly when he became a child of the forest.   

    One day it seemed he was eleven and playing in the dirt around the cabin or helping with chores, and the next, he was thirteen, carrying a .40-caliber Pennsylvania flintlock rifle, wearing smoked-buckskin clothing and moccasins, moving through the woods like a knife through water while he tracked deer to bring home to the cabin for meat.   

    He sat now by a game trail waiting for the deer he knew would come soon. He had heard it, a branch brushing a hairy side, a twig cracking, smelled it when the wind blew toward him, the musk and urine of a buck. He checked the priming on his rifle while he waited, his mind and body relaxed, patient, ears and eyes and nose alert. Quiet. Every part of him at rest, yet focused and intense.   

    And he pictured his life, how he lived in two worlds.   

    Sometimes Samuel thought that a line dividing those worlds went right through their cabin. To the west, beyond the small parchment window made of grease-soaked sheepskin scraped paper-thin, lay the forest.   

    The forest was unimaginably vast, impenetrable, mysterious and dark. His father had told him that a man could walk west for a month, walk as fast as he could, and never see the sun, so high and dense was the canopy of leaves.   

    Even close to their homestead—twelve acres clawed out of the timber with a small log cabin and a lean-to for a barn—the forest was so thick that in the summer Samuel could not see more than ten or fifteen yards into it. Some oak and elm and maple trees were four and five feet in diameter and so tall and thickly foliaged their height could only be guessed.   

    A wild world.   

    And while there were trails made by game and sometimes used by natives, settlers or trappers, the paths wandered and meandered so that they were impossible to use in any sensible way. Except to hunt.   

    When he first started going into the forest, Samuel went only a short distance. That first time, though he was well armed with his light Pennsylvania rifle and dry powder and a good knife, he instantly felt that he was in an alien world.   

    As a human he did not belong. It was a world that did not care about man any more than it cared about dirt, or grass, or leaves. He did not get lost that first time, because he'd marked trees with his knife as he walked so he could find his way out; butstill, in some way he felt lost, as if, were he not careful, a part of him would disappear and never return, gone to the wildness. Samuel had heard stories of that happening to some men. They entered the forest to hunt or trap or look for new land to settleand simply vanished.   

    "Gone to the woods," people said of them.   

    Some, he knew, were dead. Killed by accident, or panthers or bear or Indians. He had seen such bodies. One, a man mauled to death by a bear that had attacked his horse while the man was plowing; the man's head was eaten; another, killed by an arrow through the throat. An arrow, Samuel knew, that came out of the woods from a bow that was never seen, shot by a man who was never known. And when he was small, safe inside the cabin near the mud-brick fireplace with his mother and father, he had heard the panthers scream; they sounded like a woman gone mad.   

    Oh, he knew the forest could kill. Once, sitting by the fire, a distant relative, a shirttail uncle who was a very old man of nearly fifty named Ishmael,...

About the Author-
  • Gary Paulsen is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Lawn Boy, The Amazing Life of Birds, and Mudshark.
Reviews-
  • DOGO Books b21 - I thought this book was truly incredible. Samuel was just a kid living the Revolutionary War time period when his parents got kidnapped by the British. Samuel went on a journey to save his parents. He met new friends like Abner, who helped a lot, and Annie, a sweet young girl who is now his sister. He has to do incredibly dangerous things to save his parents. It will leave you puzzled, have you on the edge of your seat, and touch your heart. You must read it.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 21, 2009
    Set during the American Revolution, Paulsen's (Hatchet
    ) slim novel candidly and credibly exposes the underbelly of that war. Sam is a skilled hunter with an instinctive knowledge of the western Pennsylvania forest—a “woods runner.” When word of fighting between the British and the colonists reaches his family, the 13-year-old realizes that his life will change (“The loud outside world his parents had escaped by moving to the frontier had found them”). It is a brutal change: Sam returns from a hunting expedition to find houses in their settlement burned to the ground and the scalped bodies of neighbors. His harrowing quest to locate and rescue his parents—taken prisoner by the culprits, British soldiers aided by Iroquois—involves a nearly fatal run-in with a tomahawk-wielding native; a narrow escape from marauding Hessian mercenaries; and a fortuitous encounter with a Scottish tinker who's a spy for the patriots. Paulsen fortifies this illuminating and gripping story with interspersed historical sections that offer details about frontier life and the war (such as technology, alliances, and other period information), helping place Sam's struggles in context. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2010
    Gr 6-9-Samuel, 13, lives in the British colony of Pennsylvania. He spends his days exploring and hunting in the woods far from civilization. His father wants to live a quiet life learning to use tools and build a house, while his mother tries to get the garden to grow. There are rumors that American patriots have begun a bloody war against the English but news takes weeks to arrive and the fighting seems far away from the peaceful frontier. Suddenly, the war comes to Samuel. While he is hunting, British soldiers and Iroquois attack, taking Samuel's parents prisoner and killing many in the settlement. He follows their trail determined to rescue them. Paulsen takes readers inside the reality of this war, revealing the horrific conditions of the civilians who were taken prisoner. Between each chapter Paulsen includes information on various aspects of the war such as weapons, civilian deaths, orphans, and communication. Through Samuel's story, readers discover the brutality and cost of war. In the afterword, the author informs readers that he is not attempting to write the history of the Revolutionary War but instead to clarify some aspects of it. His story will leave readers with a new sense of admiration for those who lost their lives in the creation of the nation. This fast-paced novel will appeal to Paulsen fans and is a good choice for reluctant readers."Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD"

    Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2010
    Grades 6-9 Steering his narrative through an unsentimentalized and deglorified depiction of the American Revolution, Paulsens 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 Samuels story with historical notes that illuminate the sobering realities of the Revolution and add some context not found in most history books. Paulsens rewarding and fast-paced novel offers an honest assessment of heroism writ both small and large.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

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    Random House Children's Books
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Woods Runner
Gary Paulsen
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