Brian's Hunt (Brian's Saga Series #5)

Brian's Hunt (Brian's Saga Series #5)

4.3 112
by Gary Paulsen
     
 

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Millions of readers of Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return know that Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He has stood up to the challenge of surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization.

When Brian finds a dog one night, a dog that is wounded and

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Overview

Millions of readers of Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return know that Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He has stood up to the challenge of surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization.

When Brian finds a dog one night, a dog that is wounded and whimpering, he senses danger. The dog is badly hurt, and as Brian cares for it, he worries about his Cree friends who live north of his camp. His instincts tell him to head north, quickly. With his new companion at his side, and with a terrible, growing sense of unease, he sets out to learn what happened. He sets out on the hunt.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
As always, Paulsen spins a fast-paced tale, characterized by a refusal either to soften the often gruesome details of life in the bush (here, partially eaten bodies, wounds riddled with fly eggs and worms) or to romanticize wildlife (in this case, bears). — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
In Gary Paulsen's latest, Brian's Hunt, Brian has traveled back to his beloved Canadian wilderness. Although Brian's Return (2001) was to be the last in the series, here the acclaimed hero hunts for a bear that has attacked his friends. With an ever-reverent view toward the power of nature, the author delivers another suspenseful adventure. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Paulsen must feel about Brian Robeson the way Arthur Conan Doyle did about Sherlock Holmes: Fans just will not let him go. The fifth book in the series finds Brian again in his canoe, headed into the Canadian wilderness. Brian's solitude is interrupted by the appearance of a badly wounded dog, plainly the victim of a bear. Succumbing to the charm of this canine companion, Brian deduces that she might belong to a Cree family, which had previously befriended him and which spends summers in the area. Hastening to the family's camp, he makes a grisly discovery. The evidence of a savage bear attack propels him into the deadliest hunt of his life. More an extended short story than a novel, this tale reflects Paulsen's love for the wilderness and for dogs as well as his easy familiarity with survival techniques. The story rings true because the author plainly knows whereof he speaks, and this authenticity is a big part of its appeal. Like Hemingway's Nick Adams stories, the Brian books reveal nature and humankind's place in it with spare prose that seems ideally suited to the setting and plot. Reluctant readers will find this book manageable, would-be outdoors types will enjoy the details of hunting and fishing, and educators will appreciate the plug for self-directed learning. Paulsen does not sanitize wilderness life: It is dirty and dangerous. But his lyrical descriptions of the woods and lakes will make frazzled city dwellers long to jump in a canoe and head north along with Brian. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9).2003, Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 112p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Kathleen Beck
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, January 2004: Brian, hero of Hatchet, The River, Brian's Winter and Brian's Return, is now 16, and he has once again abandoned civilization for the solitude and beauty of the northern Canadian wilderness. It's late summer, and Brian is camping at a lake when he hears a dog whimpering. When he comes to its aid, he finds that it is badly gashed, and he starts to be concerned about his Cree friends who live in the area. With a sense of foreboding, Brian heads north with his faithful new companion and finds death and devastation on his arrival at their camp. A rogue bear has attacked, and Brian sets out to hunt it down--only to discover that the bear is hunting him. Once again, Paulsen delivers a gripping, gory tale about survival in the north woods, based on a real bear attack, as he explains in an afterword. The dog is a wonderful addition--Paulsen has always written lovingly and knowledgably about dogs and their relationships with humans. Another new note is the hint of romance in Brian's daydreams about a Cree girl; he comes to her rescue, and perhaps this relationship will continue in future volumes. Details of life in the wilderness are, as always, convincingly described, from hunting with a bow and arrow to making camp and tracking the bear. While Paulsen had said in the last book that he wouldn't write about Brian again, readers insisted, and Brian's many fans will be delighted with this new addition to the series. A great choice for reluctant readers, due to its brevity, Paulsen's spare yet dramatic prose, and the exciting hunt for the vicious bear. KLIATT Codes: J*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior high schoolstudents. 2004, Random House, Laurel Leaf, 103p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
Brian is back, even though Gary Paulsen acknowledges that he had said there would be no more Brian books. Brian is back in the wilderness because he just could not fit into civilization, even though he has a new appreciation for learning and even for schooling. Now he is homeschooling himself in the wilderness, with books but also with the natural world around him. The story is rich with detail and demands the same patience of the reader that the natural world demands of Brian as he goes from "looking at a northern pike under a lily pad to actually eating one." Brian finds an injured dog and gives himself some on-the-job training in stitching up the dog's wounds. The story becomes very grisly and quite graphic when Brian learns what caused the wounds. As always, Gary Paulsen gives his young readers a full plate of suspense, life in the wild, and thoughtful introspection. The story will keep Brian fans reading into the wee hours and eager for more. 2003, Wendy Lamb Books, Ages 10 to 15.
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-In an author's note, Paulsen explains why he decided to reopen the story first begun in Hatchet (Bradbury, 1987). In this short installment, Brian, now 16, is back in the wilderness and encounters a savagely wounded dog. He makes his way to the lake island home of the Cree man he met in Brian's Return (Delacorte, 1999), where he discovers the tragedy that led to the dog's liberation. David and his wife have been partially eaten by a bear, which necessitates the hunt mentioned in the title and described in the final chapter. Throughout, the protagonist frequently remembers events from his original stranding, alludes to the problems he had faced trying to return to "civilization," and ultimately explains the special arrangement by which he has returned to the "bush" instead of high school. Although the story does stand alone, these many references will make the audience want to read (or reread) the earlier books. This story is not as well developed as the other episodes but it is a must-read for the hordes of existing Hatchet fans out there, and it may also serve to draw some new readers into the fold. An afterword discusses bear behavior and Paulsen's experiences with these animals.-Sean George, Memphis-Shelby County Public Library & Information Center, Memphis, TN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Brian Robeson has returned to the Canadian wilderness, where his plane crashed two years before. Now 18, he feels he's in his element, a perfect place now that he's more seasoned. Soon, though, Brian finds a badly injured dog and two horribly mangled human bodies, and Brian the hunter becomes Brian the hunted, prey of a devilish rogue bear. The narrative is brisk, and Paulsen adds depth to Brian's characterization through a discussion of how learning to survive in the woods led to voracious reading and a thirst to know and understand things in civilization. In an afterword, Paulsen drives home his point that bears in the wilderness are not Teddy Bears or Winnie the Pooh, that humans are part of nature and sometimes prey; it may be "lessening" or humbling, but it's arrogant to think otherwise. Based on real incidents, this well-written sequel to Hatchet and its successors will be gobbled up by the author's legions of fans. (Fiction. 10+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307929594
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/13/2012
Series:
Brian's Saga Series, #5
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
56,836
Product dimensions:
5.61(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.28(d)
Lexile:
1180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

He was in his world again. He was back.

It was high summer coming to fall and Brian was back in the far reaches of wilderness—or as he thought of it now, home. He had his canoe and bow and matches and this time he'd added some dried food, beans and rice and sugar. He also had a small container of tea, which he'd come to enjoy. He had a small cook set, and a can to make little fires in the middle of the canoe; he put leaves on to make smoke to drive the flies and gnats and mosquitoes away. He had some salt and pepper and, almost a treat, matches. He still could not get over how wonderful it was to just be able to make a fire when he wanted one, and he never sat down to a cook fire without smiling and remembering when his life in the wilderness had begun. His first time alone.

He dreamt of it often and at first his dreams sometimes had the qualities of nightmares. He dreamt he was sitting there in the small plane, the only passenger, with the pilot dying and the plane crashing into the lake below. He awakened sometimes with sudden fear, his breath coming fast. The crash itself had been so wild and he had been so out of control that the more he had grown in the years since, the more he had learned and handled difficult situations, the more insane the crash seemed; a wild, careening, ripping ride down through trees to end not in peace but in the water, nearly drowning—in the nightmares it was like dying and then not dying to die again.

But the bad dreams were rare, rarer all the time, and when he had them at all now they were in the nature of fond memories of his first months alone in the bush, or even full-blown humor: the skunk that had moved in with him and kept the bear away; how Brian had eaten too many gut berries, which he'd later found were really called chokecherries (a great name, he thought); a chickadee that had once landed on his knee to take food from his hand.

He had been . . . young then, more than two years ago. He was still young by most standards, just sixteen. But he was more seasoned now and back then he had acted young—no, that wasn't quite it either. New. He had been new then and now he was perhaps not so new.

He paused in his thinking and let the outside world come into his open mind. East edge of a small lake, midday, there would be small fish in the reeds and lily pads, sunfish and bluegills, good eating fish, and he'd have to catch some for his one hot meal a day. Sun high overhead, warm on his back but not hot the way it had been earlier in the week; no, hot but not muggy. The summer was drying out, getting ready for fall. Loon cry off to the left, not distress, not a baby lost to pike or musky; the babies would be big enough now to evade danger on their own, almost ready to fly, and would not have to ride on their mother's backs for safety as they did when they were first hatched out.

He was close in on the lily pads and something moved suddenly in the brush just up the bank, rustling through the thick, green foliage, and though it sounded big and made a lot of noise he knew it was probably a squirrel or even a mouse. They made an inordinate amount of noise as they traveled through the leaves and humus on the ground. And there was no heavy footfall feeling as there would be with a moose or deer or bear, although bear usually were relatively quiet when they moved.

High-pitched screeeeee of hawk or eagle hunting and calling to his or her mate; he couldn't always tell yet between the cry of hawk and eagle.

A yip of coyote, not wolf because it was not deep enough, and not a call, not a howl or a song but more a yip of irritation.

He had heard that yip before when he'd watched a coyote hunting mice by a huge old pine log. The log had holes beneath it from one side to the other and the mice could dance back and forth beneath the log through the holes, while the coyote had to run around the end, or jump over the top, and the mice simply scurried back and forth under it to avoid him. The coyote tried everything, hiding, waiting, digging a hole big enough for himself under the log so he could move back and forth, but nothing worked. After over an hour of trying to get at the mice, he finally stood on top of the log looking down one side, then the other, raised his head and looked right at Brian as if he'd known Brian was there the whole time, and gave an irritated, downright angry yip. It was, Brian felt, a kind of swearing.

Up ahead four hundred yards, a moose was feeding in the lily pads, putting its head underwater to pull up the succulent roots, and Brian knew it would be an easy kill if he wanted it. Canoes seemed such a part of nature to the animals in the wild—perhaps they thought canoes were logs—and if a person kept very still it was often possible to glide right up next to an animal near the water. In many states it was illegal to hunt from a canoe for just that reason. Brian had once canoed up next to and touched a fawn standing in the shallows. And with feeding moose it was simpler yet; all you had to do was scoot forward when the moose had its head underwater and coast when its head was up, looking around.

Brian had plenty of arrows: a dozen and a half field points with sixty extra points and a hundred extra shafts and equipment to make more arrows, and two dozen broadhead arrows as well as fifty extra broadhead points with triple-blade heads the military had designed for covert work many years before. These were called MA 3s. Deadly. And if sharpened frequently, they were strong enough to reuse many times if you didn't hit a bone or miss and catch a rock.

Looking at the moose, he salivated, thinking of the red meat and how it would taste roasted over a fire. But then he decided against it. The moose was a small bull, probably only six or seven hundred pounds, and nowhere near the fourteen or fifteen hundred pounds a large bull would weigh, but even so it was a lot of meat to deal with and he couldn't bring himself to waste anything he killed. He had gone hungry so long when he had first come to the bush. . . . Food had been everything and the thought of wasting any of it went against every instinct in his body. Even if he made a smoke fire and dried most of it in strips he would still lose some meat. . . .

Still, he could see the shot. Close to the moose, close in but far enough away to avoid an attack, the bow already strung. Wait until he ducked under to draw the bow and then as soon as the head came up release the MA 3 just in back of the shoulder, under the shoulder blade and the broadhead would go straight into the heart. . . .

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