Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Read Aloud Handbook: Woodsong

When I checked out Woodsong, I thought it would be a nice dog story about the Iditarod.


Oh, soooooo wrong.

Paulsen doesn't pull any punches with Woodsong. His opening chapter deals with a bloody pursuit, killing, and eating of a doe by a pack of wolves. Let's just say it's gross enough to make Stephen King say, "Eww." I hasten to add that it's not sensationalistic.....just very, very detailed and realistic.


No need to worry-they're in the next chapter. We get to read about dogs bleeding during their run. Then we read about Paulsen hallucinating that a man is talking to him about educational grants.

Definitely not for the weak stomached (or a lunchtime read). If you're fascinated by the Iditarod, on the other hand, this is a immensely addicting (and quick) read. Depending on the child's maturity, I would recommend it for fifth graders and up.

Gary Paulsen wrote Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, which is an adult book. The Iditarod is based on a dogsled run to Nome in order to deliver desperately needed serum for diptheria; The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic is a fantastic adult book on that run. For children, check out The Bravest Dog Ever and Togo.

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