Friday, June 19, 2015

Guy Friday-- Bear Island

Greci, Paul. Surviving Bear Island
March 25th 2015 by Move Books

Tom Parker and his father are on a kayaking trip to a remote island when they capsize, and get separated. Tom is glad that his father made him carry a survival kit in his pocket, because otherwise he would have no food, and starting fires would be much harder. He's very worried about his father, and tries to look for him, but also has a lot to do just to keep himself warm, fed, and free from bears. Help doesn't come for quite a while, so he must survive in an unforgiving wilderness. He is glad that his father taught him so well, because he is injured several times, and runs across just about every perilous situation that exists in the wild. Will he be reunited with his father?
Strengths: Excellent descriptions of wilderness and survival tactics. There is an edge-of-your-seat quality to the writing that will make it appeal to my readers who like survival fiction. Tom is a likable character, the story moves quickly, and fans of Will Hobbs and Gary Paulsen will adore this.
Weaknesses: The formatting is a bit odd. The way a page looks when a reader first opens up the book can be a huge influence, and this had font that was a bit small, and less white space than readers tend to like. I know it sounds picky, but there are a lot of times when I have to show a student the text of a book-- if the font looks big, they are more likely to read it. There was also WAY too much about the mother's death, and it added absolutely nothing to the story. It was enough that Tom and his father were separated. I also would have liked a more definitive ending.
What I really think: The adventure/survival portion of this was so strong that I will buy a copy despite my very strong objection to the storyline about the mother's death and the father's dysfunctional way of dealing with it.


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