Author: Gary Paulsen
Recommending Source: Textbook, Newberry Honor
Interest Level: Intermediate (4rd – 5th, maybe too serious for a 3rd grader)
Format/ Artwork: Chapter book
Summary: (B&N summary) Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present — and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair — it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
Evaluation: This book captured my heart. I love the outdoors and am a daughter of an eagle scout, so this book hit close to home and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I first read it 5th grade, and it has a special place on my bookshelf. The rest of Brian’s saga is an interesting read as well. I love survival stories. If you enjoy watching Bear Grylls, this book is for you!
1. Language Arts: Define a “flashback”. In a graphic organizer, describe the flashbacks and list their page numbers. Why are they important to the story?
2. Art: Use things that have textures from nature to make a rubbing art.
3. Science: aeronautics- Discuss parts of plans, how they fly, and maybe fly a plane simulator.
4. Science/Health: Learn the rules of 3 and other rules of survival. Have a Boy Scout/Outdoorsman as guest speaker to talk about the importance of food, water, and shelter.
5. Math/Science: Discuss light refraction. How did this effect Brian’s ability to catch fish?
6. Geography: Study a map, discuss mountain ranges and the different physical characteristics of mountains. Discuss lakes and the habitats surrounding lakes.
7. Math/art: Draw a map based on the chapter where Brian’s plane crashes. Make a legend and include a compass rose.
8. Developmental questions/discussions: Why was winter coming such a big deal? What might have happened to Brian?
Related Books: The River (Researchers want to study Brian’s adventure), Brian’s Return (How does Brian adjust to the city life?), Brian’s Winter (What if he didn’t get rescued and had to survive the winter?), Brian’s Hunt (A stand alone tale about Brian and a dog) all by Gary Paulsen.
-Liz (aka Rachel)