Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

This book is historical fiction, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Samuel and his family live in the western part of Pennsylvania in 1776. Samuel loves his life in the wilderness, but his parents are taken prisoner by British soldiers while he is out hunting. He doesn't understand why his parents weren't killed and scalped like their neighbors. Samuel is able to track his parents' captors, but he has no plan to help them escape. He finds aid from Colonial rebels when an Indian hits him in the head with a tomahawk. He also "adopts" a young girl when her parents are murdered by Hessians, vicious soldiers who were hired by the British. Samuel must find a way to rescue his parents from the prison where they're being held. What chance does a boy with a single-shot rifle and a knife have against an army of thousands?

Historical fiction novels don't always have the adventure and action of traditional fiction, but this plot works. I appreciated Samuel's determination as he tracked his parents' captors and the spirit of American colonists as they fought the invading British army, Indians, and Hessians. The author included information about the Revolutionary War at the start of each chapter, but the information was normally related to what was happening in the story. He added a good amount of action throughout the plot to keep my interest.

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