Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence

How I Heard About It:  My Twitter buddy @sfillner sent out some tweets about this book.  He and I seem to have similar tastes in middle-grade novels.  During a recent visit to the local library I saw this title on the audio shelf.  I was quite excited to listen to the story as my began my commute to and from work.  

What It Is About:  Chris doesn't have the best relationship with his father.  One reason might be because his dad is gone quite a bit.  His dad says he is off working, but Chris has a few clues that this might not be true.  Chris' uncle Jack is a really cool guy that enjoys doing adventurous activities.  He invites Chris to join him on a trip to the Alaskan waters aboard a boat.  Chris ventures off on the voyage and learns that another boy who is slightly older than Chris will be joining them.  Chris and Frank don't hit if off, but Uncle Jack tells them to make the best of hit.  After a terrible storm at sea, Chris and Frank are left on their own on an island or some piece of land.  These two boys must learn how to survive in the wild without the supervision of Jack.  With the friendship of a raven and the enemy of a bear, both boys learn what is truly important both in the wild and in life.  

What I Thought Of It:  This was one of the most enjoyable audio experiences I've had in quite some time.  The narrator was outstanding and I was pulled into the story right away.  Many aspects of the adventure reminded me of Hatchet, but there are also many differences.  I loved how these two boys started off hating each other and had to come to some sort of terms in order for both of them to survive the elements of the wild.  The back stories of both Chris and Frank were interesting and brought everything together.  I'm not always a fan of "adventure" stories, but this one grabbed me and didn't let go until the very last word.  

Who Should Read It:  There are so many of my former students that I know would love this story.  Middle-grade readers who enjoy adventures out in the wild will for sure be a target audience for this story.  I could see male readers taking in the story more than females, but that is not to say that girl readers wouldn't like the story.  I think it would make for an excellent read aloud in grades three through six.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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