Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Samuel is a thirteen-year-old boy who spends his free time hunting in the woods near the remote home where he and his parents live. In fact, he is in the woods when their home is seton fire, his parents kidnapped, and his neighbors killed—all by the British soldiers who are in America to fight in the Revolutionary War.
Being the skilled woodsman that he is, Samuel undertakes to follow the trail made by the group of soldiers and their prisoners—he is sure his parents are among those taken, as he sees their shoe prints. Although a head wound from a scalping band of Iroquois sidelines him for a number of days, he is determined to keep moving towards British-held New York City. (It is believed that his parents, along with most prisoners of war, have been imprisoned there). Along the way, he meets Annie, a young girl whose parents had been killed right in front of her. She resolves to stick with him from this point forward, so he lets her. The traveling becomes easier when they meet a man named Abner who is willing to take them to New York City on his cart. However, when they get there, Samuel realizes that rescuing his parents isn’t going to be as easy as he thought it would be.
This is an interesting story that drops the reader right into the American Revolution. Samuel’s dedication to rescuing his parents is admirable, and one can’t help but feel for little Annie. Paulsen adds short entries of nonfiction in between pieces of the story to create an even stronger image of what one might face living in the Revolutionary time.
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