Bearwalkerby Joseph Bruchac, Sally Wern Comport
As a member of the Mohawk Bear Clan, Baron has always been fascinated by bears—their gentle strength and untamed power. But the Bearwalker legend, passed down by his ancestors, tells of a different kind of creature—a terrible mix of human and animal that looks like a bear but is really a bloodthirsty monster. The tale never seemed to be more than a… See more details below
As a member of the Mohawk Bear Clan, Baron has always been fascinated by bears—their gentle strength and untamed power. But the Bearwalker legend, passed down by his ancestors, tells of a different kind of creature—a terrible mix of human and animal that looks like a bear but is really a bloodthirsty monster. The tale never seemed to be more than a scary story. Until now.
During a class camping trip deep in the Adirondacks, Baron comes face-to-face with an evil being that is all too real. Although he knows how the story ends in the legend, Baron must overcome this Bearwalker on his own terms.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
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- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 1 MB
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Meet the Author
Joseph Bruchac is the author of Skeleton Man, The Return of Skeleton Man, Bearwalker, The Dark Pond, and Whisper in the Dark, as well as numerous other critically acclaimed novels, poems, and stories, many drawing on his Abenaki heritage. Mr. Bruchac and his wife, Carol, live in upstate New York, in the same house where he was raised by his grandparents.
Sally Wern Comport has been making pictures professionally since the age of sixteen. Her images have been seen in the editorial, advertising, and publishing markets worldwide, and her work includes the picture book Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure, by Robert D. San Souci. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her studio partner husband and their two daughters, Taylor and Olivia, and she recently completed her graduate education at Syracuse University to further her passion for the art of illustration.
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Read an Excerpt
Pioneer Junior High
I hate the name of my school. Almost as much as I hate the fact that I am the shortest kid in eighth grade. There are even sixth graders taller than me.
But I am not small enough to be forgotten by at least one person as I slouch in my corner desk with my head down.
"Baron," Mr. Wilbur says from the door of the classroom. "Come on, buddy. Let's go. Everybody else is outside."
So much for my wonderful idea. I should have known it was too good to be true when the principal announced over the PA that any student who was not outside promptly at 9 a.m. and lined up for the bus would be left behind.
I shoulder my backpack and go out the front door of the school. I'm mad that my idea about getting out of this "special experience" hasn't worked. I don't notice that Mr. Wilbur has turned back to get something and is not behind me. Mistake number one. Mistake number two is walking out in the blinding sunlight without noticing what gang of three boys is hanging around the door. The three main reasons I am dreading the days ahead.
"Oops," says a familiar voice, just before a leg hits my shin at just the right place to send me sprawling onto my face. My hands scrape the pavement, but at least I don't hit my face and get a bloody nose like I did the first time this happened to me. One thing I've learned in the time I've been at Pioneer Junior High is how to fall.
I look up over my shoulder at the big round face of Asa Denham. His long blond hair is like a halo lit by the sun around his head, but his amused expression is not that of an attentive angel. His twobuddies—who hang around him like the other two-thirds of a set of Siamese triplets—look over each of his shoulders. Ernie Crimmins and Harle Clark look just as self-satisfied as their leader. I don't know which one of the three tripped me, but they're all enjoying the spectacle of me flattened on the sidewalk like roadkill.
"Sorry," Asa says.
"Yeah," Ernie agrees. "Sorry you're such a clumsy little shrimp."
"Shrimp," Harle repeats. His imagination is limited.
Not surprisingly, seeing as how downed prey always attracts the pack, other kids have quickly gathered round.
"Fight?" someone says in a hopeful voice. As if I were about to get up just to get even more convincingly flattened.
"Yo," a foghorn tone chips in, "what happened to Baron? He trip over an ant?" It's Willy Donner, of course. Willy is a weird match for that big voice of his. He's as skinny as I am short. But he is always so quick with his sarcasm that no one ever gets a chance to make a crack about him before he makes some biting remark of his own.
Someone pushes his way in front, takes my arm and lifts me up.
"Come on, Baron," he says. It takes me a moment to realize who it is. I'd been expecting a teacher to be the one to step in, but it's not. It's Cody Campbell. Cody is not just one of the biggest, he's also the best-looking guy in the eighth grade. Sort of a teenage Brad Pitt. The girls swoon over him. And because he's the best football player in school, the guys all respect him, too. Asa and his crew have already taken a few steps backward to disappear into the crowd.
I'm still trying to get over my shock about Cody actually noticing me, much less lending a helping hand to me, when I hear the AP's brusque voice.
"Move aside," he snaps, as if he actually had to say something for the crowd to part before him like the waters of the Red Sea. No one ever wants to get on the wrong side of Assistant Principal Stark. He stares down at me as if trying to identify some lower form of life that just crawled out from under a rock.
"What's going on here, Mr. Braun?" he says. "Did I hear someone say 'fight'? Has someone been picking on you?" His hooded eyes take in the scrapes on my hands before I can put them behind my back. ZTP, I think. ZTP.
ZTP. That stands for the zero tolerance policy in effect at our school when it comes to fights. Anyone involved, including the hapless victim, gets punished. All I have to do is mention Asa's name and we'll both be up the creek. In detention, probably denied the opportunity to go on the class trip. Hmm. I'm tempted. But what works against my temptation is the ancient junior high code of Omerta. Nobody squeals on nobody, no matter what.
"I tripped," I say. "Mr. Campbell here just helped me up."
"Humph," the AP snorts. He turns on his heel and strides back into the building.
Cody slaps me once on the chest, a friendly slap that confuses me. It's as if I've done something admirable.
"You never cry, do you?" Someone else has come up next to me. It must be the Indian boy's day for having white kids sneak up on him. It's a girl this time. Her name is Tara and her desk is next to mine. She hands me a tissue. "Your hand is bleeding," she says. Instead of saying anything, I just press the tissue against the scrape on my hand and walk away from both of them.
As the class lines up for the bus, I look back at the redbrick buildings of the school. Could it really be six months since my uncle Jules dropped me off here for the first time?
He had volunteered that first day to pick me up from the trailer park and take me to school because Grama. ..Bearwalker. Copyright © by Joseph Bruchac. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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