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Brian's Winter [Paperback]

By Gary Paulsen (Author)
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Item Number 157336  
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Item description for Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen...

Instead of being rescued from a plane crash, as in the author's book "Hatchet," this story portrays what would have happened to Brian had he been forced to survive a winter in the wilderness with only his survival pack and hatchet

Publishers Description
In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. Finally, as millions of readers know, he was rescued at the end of the summer. But what if Brian hadn't been rescued? What if he had been left to face his deadliest enemy--winter?

Gary Paulsen raises the stakes for survival in this riveting and inspiring story as one boy confronts the ultimate test and the ultimate adventure.
"Paulsen crafts a companion/sequel to Hatchet containing many of its same pleasures...Read together, the two books make his finest tale of survival yet."
--Kirkus Review, Pointer

"Paulsen at his best."

--School Library Journal
GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Flat Broke; Liar, Liar; Masters of Disaster; Lawn Boy Returns; Woods Runner; Notes from the Dog; Mudshark; Lawn Boy; Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day; The Time Hackers; and The Amazing Life of Birds (The Twenty Day Puberty Journal of Duane Homer Leech).

From the Trade Paperback edition.
For two weeks the weather grew warmer and each day was more glorious than the one before. Hunting seemed to get better as well. Brian took foolbirds or rabbits every day and on one single day he took three foolbirds.

He ate everything and felt fat and lazy and one afternoon he actually lay in the sun. It was perhaps wrong to say he was happy. He spent too much time in loneliness for true happiness. But he found himself smiling as he worked around the camp and actually looked forward to bringing in wood in the soft afternoons just because it kept him out rummaging around in the woods.

He had made many friends--or at least acquaintances. Birds had taken on a special significance for him. At night the owls made their soft sounds, calling each other in almost ghostly hooonnes that scared him until he finally saw one call on a night when the moon was full and so bright it was almost like a cloudy day. He slept with their calls and before long would awaken if they didn't call.

Before dawn, just as gray light began to filter through the trees, the day birds began to sing. They started slowly but before the gray had become light enough to see ten yards all the birds started to sing and Brian was brought out of sleep by what seemed to be thousands of singing birds.

At first it all seemed to be noise but as he learned and listened, he found them all to be different. Robins had an evening song and one they sang right before a rainstorm and another when the rain was done. Blue jays spent all their time complaining and swearing but they also warned him when something--anything--was moving in the woods. Ravens and crows were the same--scrawking and cawing their way through the trees.

It was all, Brian found, about territory. Everybody wanted to own a place to live, a place to hunt. Birds didn't sing for fun, they sang to warn other birds to keep away--sang to tell them to stay out of their territory.

He had learned about property from the wolves. Several times he had seen a solitary wolf--a large male that came near the camp and studied the boy. The wolf did not seem to be afraid and did nothing to frighten Brian, and Brian even thought of him as a kind of friend.

The wolf seemed to come on a regular schedule, hunting, and Brian guessed that he ran a kind of circuit. At night while gazing at the fire Brian figured that if the wolf made five miles an hour and hunted ten hours a day, he must be traveling close to a hundred-mile loop.

After a month or so the wolf brought a friend, a smaller, younger male, and the second time they both came they stopped near Brian's camp and while Brian watched they peed on a rotten stump, both going twice on the same spot.

Brian had read about wolves and seen films about them: and knew that they "left sign," using urine to mark their territory. He had also read--he thought in a book by Farley Mowat--that the wolves respected others' territories as well as their own. As soon as they were well away from the old stump Brian went up and peed where they had left sign.

Five days later when they came through again Brian saw them stop, smell where he had gone and then spot the ground next to Brian's spot, accepting his boundary.

Good, he thought. I own something now. I belong. And he had gone on with his life believing that the wolves and he had settled everything.

But wolf rules and Brian rules only applied to wolves and Brian.

Then the bear came.

Brian had come to know bears as well as he knew wolves or birds. They were usually alone--unless it was a female with cubs--and they were absolutely, totally devoted to eating. He had seen them several times while picking berries, raking the bushes with their teeth to pull the fruit off--and a goodly number of leaves as well, which they spit out before swallowing the berries--and, as with the wolves, they seemed to get along with him.

That is to say Brian would see them eating and he would move away and let them pick where they wanted while he found another location. It worked for the bears, he thought, smiling, and it worked for him, and this thinking evolved into what Brian thought of as an understanding between him and the bears: Since he left them alone, they would leave him alone.

Unfortunately the bears did not know that it was an agreement, and Brian was suffering under the misunderstanding that, as in some imaginary politically correct society, everything was working out.

All of this made him totally unprepared for the reality of the woods. To wit: Bears and wolves did what they wanted to do, and Brian had to fit in.

He was literary awakened to the facts one morning during the two-week warm spell. Brian had been sleeping soundly and woke to the clunking sound of metal on rock. His mind and ears were tuned to all the natural sounds around him and there was no sound in nature of metal on stone. It snapped him awake in midbreath.

He was sleeping with his head in the opening of the shelter and he had his face out and when he opened his eyes he saw what appeared to be a wall of black-brown fur directly in front of him.

He thought he might be dreaming and shook his head but it didn't go away and he realized in the same moment that he was looking at the rear end of a bear. No, he thought with a clinical logic that surprised him--I am looking at the very large rear end of a very large bear.

The bear had come to Brian's camp--smelling the gutsmell of the dead rabbit, and the cooking odor from the pot. The bear did not see it as Brian's camp or territory. There was a food smell, it was hungry, it was time to eat.

It had found the pot and knife by the fire where Brian had left them and scooped them outside. Brian had washed them both in the lake when he finished eating, but the smell of food was still in the air. Working around the side of the opening, the bear had bumped the pan against a rock at the same moment that it had settled its rump in the entrance of Brian's shelter.

Brian pulled back a foot. "Hey--get out of there!" he yelled, and kicked the bear in the rear.

He was not certain what he expected. Perhaps that the bear would turn and realize its mistake and then sheepishly trundle away. Or that the bear would just run off.

With no hesitation, not even the smallest part of a second's delay, the bear turned and ripped the entire log side off the shelter with one sweep of a front paw and a moist "whouuuff" out of its nostrils.

Brian found himself looking up at the bear, turned now to look down on the boy, and with another snort the bear swung its left paw again and scooped Brian out of the hollow of the rock and flung him end over end for twenty feet. Then the bear slipped forward and used both front paws to pack Brian in a kind of ball and whap him down to the edge of the water, where he lay, dazed, thinking in some way that he was still back in the shelter.

The bear stopped and studied Brian for a long minute, then turned back to ransacking the camp, looking for where that delicious smell had come from. It sat back on its haunches and felt the air with its nostrils, located another faint odor stream and followed it down to the edge of the water where the fish pool lay. It dug in the water--not more than ten feet from where Brian now lay, trying to figure out if his arms and legs were still all attached to where they had been before--and pulled up the rabbit skull, still with bits of meat on it, and swallowed it whole. It dug around in the water again and found the guts and ate them and went back to rummaging around in the pool, and when nothing more could be found the bear looked once more at Brian, at the camp, and then walked away without looking back.

Other than some minor scratches where the bear's claws had slightly scraped him--it was more a boxing action than a clawing one--Brian was in one piece. He was still jolted and confused about just exactly which end was up, but most of all he was grateful.

He knew that the bear could have done much more damage than it had. He had seen a bear tear a stump out of the ground like a giant tooth when it was looking for grubworms and ants. This bear could just as easily have killed him, and had actually held back.

But as the day progressed Brian found himself stiffening, and by the time he was ready for bed his whole body ached and he knew he would be covered with bruises from the encounter.

He would have to find some way to protect himself, some weapon. The fire worked well when it was burning, but it had burned down. His hatchet and knife would have done nothing more than make the bear really angry--something he did not like to think about--and his bow was good only for smaller game. He had never tried to shoot anything bigger than a foolbird or rabbit with it and doubted that the bow would push the arrow deep enough to do anything but--again--make the bear really mad.

He bundled in his bag that night, the end of the two weeks of warm weather. He kept putting wood on the fire, half afraid the bear would come back. All the while he tried to think of a solution.

But in reality, the bear was not his primary adversary. Nor was the wolf, nor any animal. Brian had become his own worst enemy because in all the business of hunting, fishing and surviving he had forgotten the primary rule: Always, always pay attention to what was happening. Everything in nature means something and he had missed the warnings that summer was ending, had in many ways already ended, and what was coming would be the most dangerous thing he had faced since the plane crash.

An Excerpt from Brian's Winter

        He would have to find some way to protect himself, some weapon. The fire
        worked well when it was burning, but it had burned down. His hatchet and
        knife would have done nothing more than make the bear really angry--something
        he did not like to think about--and his bow was good only for smaller
        game. He had never tried to shoot anything bigger than a foolbird or rabbit
        with it and doubted that the bow would push the arrow deep enough to do
        anything but--again--make the bear really mad.

        He bundled in his bag that night, the end of the two weeks of warm weather.
        He kept putting wood on the fire, half afraid the bear would come back.
        All the while he tried to think of a solution.

        But in reality, the bear was not his primary adversary. Nor was the wolf,
        nor any animal. Brian had become his own worst enemy because in all the
        business of hunting, fishing and surviving he had forgotten the primary
        rule: Always, always pay attention to what was happening. Everything
        in nature means something and he had missed the warnings that summer was
        ending, had in many ways already ended, and what was coming would be the
        most dangerous thing he had faced since the plane crash.


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Item Specifications...

Studio: Laurel Leaf
Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.91" Width: 4.2" Height: 0.45"
Weight:   0.17 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 12, 1998
Publisher   Laurel Leaf
Age  12-17
ISBN  0440227194  
ISBN13  9780440227199  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newbery Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Born May 17, 1939, Gary Paulsen is one of America's most popular writers for young people. Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read — along with his own library card — he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adventure. A youthful summer of rigorous chores on a farm; jobs as an engineer, construction worker, ranch hand, truck driver, and sailor; and two rounds of the 1,180-mile Alaskan dog sled race, the Iditarod; have provided ample material from which he creates his powerful stories.

Paulsen's realization that he would become a writer came suddenly when he was working as a satellite technician for an aerospace firm in California. One night he walked off the job, never to return. He spent the next year in Hollywood as a magazine proofreader, working on his own writing every night. Then he left California and drove to northern Minnesota where he rented a cabin on a lake; by the end of the winter, he had completed his first novel.

Living in the remote Minnesota woods, Paulsen eventually turned to the sport of dog racing, and entered the 1983 Iditarod. In 1985, after running the Iditarod for the second time, he suffered an attack of angina and was forced to give up his dogs. "I started to focus on writing the same energies and efforts that I was using with dogs. So we're talking 18-, 19-, 20-hour days completely committed to work. Totally, viciously, obsessively committed to work, the way I'd run dogs....I still work that way, completely, all the time. I just work. I don't drink, I don't fool around, I'm just this way....The end result is there's a lot of books out there."

It is Paulsen's overwhelming belief in young people that drives him to write. His intense desire to tap deeply into the human spirit and to encourage readers to observe and care about the world around them has brought him both enormous popularity with young people and critical acclaim from the children's book community. Paulsen is a master storyteller who has written more than 175 books and some 200 articles and short stories for children and adults. He is one of the most important writers of young adult literature today and three of his novels — Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room — were Newbery Honor Books. His books frequently appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association.

Paulsen has received many letters from readers (as many as 200 a day) telling him they felt Brian Robeson's story in Hatchet was left unfinished by his early rescue, before the winter came and made things really tough. They wanted to know what would happen if Brian were not rescued, if he had to survive in the winter. Paulsen says, "Since my life has been one of survival in winter — running two Iditarods, hunting and trapping as a boy and young man — the challenge became interesting, and so I researched and wrote Brian's Winter, showing what could and perhaps would have happened had Brian not been rescued."

Paulsen and his wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, an artist who has illustrated several of his books, divide their time between a home in New Mexico and a boat in the Pacific.

Gary Paulsen currently resides in the state of New Mexico.

Gary Paulsen has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Aladdin Classics
  2. Francis Tucket Books
  3. Gary Paulsen World of Adventure (Paperback)
  4. Tucket Adventures (Paperback)
  5. Tucket Adventures (Pb)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Action & Adventure
3Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Short Story Collections
4Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12
5Books > Subjects > Teens > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Paulsen, Gary
6Books > Subjects > Teens > Literature & Fiction > General
7Books > Subjects > Teens > Literature & Fiction

Reviews - What do customers think about Brian's Winter?

My first Paulsen book!  May 31, 2008
Gary Paulsen writes for young adults and teenagers. He got published long after I graduated high school. Anyway, this book is the story of Brian who must survive and endure the hardships of life in the Canadian wilderness. Paulsen is quite detailed in explaining his survival but it gets tedious at times and repetitive. It's a good book for young kids, boys and girls. Brian's story of survival is quite like Castaway for kids but only the winter wilderness of Canada rather than an island in the Pacific. The book is an easy read but I didn't like the parts about Brian killing the animals like rabbits since I'm a rabbit lover as well as moose and others.
brians winter  Apr 10, 2007
I read the book, Brains Winter. It was about brain that is a boy that was in a plane crash and was the only survivor. He lived out the summer in the book, The Hatchet, and at the end was saved. But this book picks up as if he was not saved and shows him serving in the winter.
My favorite part of the book was when he killed the moose. I liked this part because it shows how much he has learned and it shows him making progress. I also like this part because it is exciting when the moose is attacking him and it makes you want to see what happens next. That is my favorite part in the movie.
I would recommend this book if you have read the book the hatchet because it is a great sequel/ alternate ending to the book. But if you did not like the book the hatchet I would not recommend this book to you because it is very similar to the hatchet. This is a great book and I really liked it. So in conclusion I would recommend this book if you liked the book the hatchet and if you didn't like the hatchet then this book is not for you.
Cornwall Middle School-sixth grader  Mar 9, 2007
By Noah

Brian's winter by Gary Paulsen is great, suspenseful, intense, and enjoyable book. It is an awesome book especially if you like adventurous or survival books. In this book Brian endures many animals such as a skunk who he becomes very fond of her and names her Betty he also comes to face with wolves, deer, and the most dangerous one of them all a moose which attacked him during his hunt. Brian uses his knowledge of the wilderness to survive. He also uses his memories too help design bows, arrows, and even arrowheads. He got used too living in the wilderness so he worked on new hunting techniques. He also learned how too make his shelter more secure by packing the walls with mud making it water tight and nearly air tight. This is a great sequel to the book Hatchet. Brian is a great character considering he gives the book a lot of suspense. During the time Brian was in the woods he learned many useful things such as how to carve an animal which is a good thing considering he as improved his hunting skills. The book Brian's winter was a great book I would definitely recommend it to anyone who liked Hatchet or likes adventurous or survival books.
Good book  Jan 10, 2007
My son has enjoyed the other books before this one, and also the alternative ending books.
The Many Sacrifices of Living in the Wild  Dec 13, 2006
This book is so cool; it has lots of adventures and action. It is filled with animals. It is a great guide on living in the wild. Once you start reading this book you can't put it down. I enjoyed this book a lot because it reminds me so much of me and what I would do if I was I was in the wilderness all alone, and the author made it seem so real and wrote it so great. This is the best book ever it will make you feel so wild and ready to go and hunt or something. Please read this book it so awesome get it pass it on and make them pass it on it is the best!!!

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