Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Series #4) by Gary Paulsen, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Series #4)

Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Series #4)

4.3 149
by Gary Paulsen

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For more than a decade, readers and reviewers everywhere have praised Gary Paulsen's exciting stories about brave Brian Robeson. In the Newbery Honor book Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian was stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet to help him survive. The River brought 15-year-old Brian back to the wilderness for a


For more than a decade, readers and reviewers everywhere have praised Gary Paulsen's exciting stories about brave Brian Robeson. In the Newbery Honor book Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian was stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet to help him survive. The River brought 15-year-old Brian back to the wilderness for a government project -- where he was left with a wounded partner and a rapid river to navigate. An alternative sequel, Brian's Winter, posed the question: What if Brian had not been rescued? Now comes Brian's Return -- the final, gripping conclusion to Paulsen's extraordinary saga.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Dr. Ruth Cox
It has been two years since the small plane crashed in the wilderness and Brian is now nearly sixteen. No matter how hard he tries, he does not fit into today's fast-paced world. He longs for the solitude of the northern lakes and woods. After a vicious fight with a high school football player, Brian is sent to a counselor to work out his problems. Brian just wants to go back home to the woods. Paulsen spends sixty pages of this novel preparing Brian for his trip back to the northern wilderness. The reader learns in great detail about specific types of bows and arrows, as well as other camping/survival equipment. With a canoe and his bow and arrows, Brian blends back into the woods and waterways he loves so much. An encounter with a bear and a torrential rainstorm only remind him that one must prepare for the unexpected in the wilderness. Also unexpected is the arrival of the old woodsman, Billy. When Brian tells Billy about the deer he saw that day, and how it looked directly at him, Billy says that it is Brian's "medicine deer" and he must listen to what the deer tells him. In the morning Brian finds a rawhide loop with a bit of whitetail deer tail and a crow feather tied to it-medicine to guide him. Brian dips his paddle into the water and as his canoe silently glides through the pristine wilderness he knows that he will follow his medicine, wherever it will take him. Paulsen fans will love this final chapter in Brian's quest for the woodsman's way of life. The author's note explains that the things that happen to Brian in the four novels-Hatchet (Simon & Schuster, 1987/VOYA February 1988), The River (Delacorte, 1991/VOYA August 1991), Brian's Winter (Delacorte, 1996/VOYA February 1997), and Brian's Return-have happened to Paulsen during his life-long romance with the wilderness. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).
To quote KLIATT's Nov. 1998 review of the hardcover edition: In this conclusion to the story that began with the classic survival tale Hatchet and continued in The River and Brian's Winter, Brian Robeson has returned to civilization—and he hates it. Back home and in high school, he tries to fit in, but the noise and the lack of solitude trouble him, and he misses the woods desperately...Brain makes a careful list of what he needs to bring with him to survive alone in the north woods, from a canoe to the right kind of arrowheads—and the complete works of Shakespeare. But nature is unpredictable, as Brian is reminded when a deer leaps into his canoe and capsizes it, a storm collapses his tent, and he pokes his leg with an arrow. The beauty and joy of being in the wild help Brian rise above the challenges he faces, and an encounter with a stranger reaffirms his dedication to life in the woods...In spare and evocative prose, the novel conveys his love of the wild. Readers will be intrigued by Brain's list and his survival skills, and enjoy his adventures, though they are not quite as dramatic as those in the other novels. This quick read will appeal to reluctant readers as well as to the many fans of Hatchet and its sequels. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Random House, Dell Laurel-Leaf, 120p. 18cm., $5.50. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up--Readers who have been dissatisfied with the various endings to the story of Brian of Hatchet (Bradbury, 1987) fame now have another alternative ending--perhaps the one for which they've been waiting. In Brian's Return, Paulsen describes the boy's escalating inability to participate in modern American teenage life, climaxing in a physical confrontation outside a pizza parlor during which Brian behaves as if he's been confronted by a threatening wild animal. Sent for counseling after this incident, he realizes that he needs to return to the wild and lead an existence attuned to nature rather than MTV. This seems to be a logical conclusion for him, and readers have long since ceased to worry about this young man's ability to cope with any hazard nature may throw his way, so they can leave him in the North Woods with absolute contentment. It is a relief that Paulsen's considerable talents are now freed to address other subjects.--Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Paulsen brings the story he began in Hatchet (1987) and continued in the alternate sequels The River (1991) and Brian's Winter (1996) around to a sometimes-mystical close. Surviving the media coverage and the unwanted attention of other high school students has become more onerous to Brian than his experiences in the wild; realizing that the wilderness has become larger within him than the need to be with people, Brian methodically gathers survival equipment-listed in detail-then leaves his old life behind. It takes some time, plus a brutal fight and sessions with a savvy counselor, before Brian reaches that realization, but once out under the trees, it's obvious that his attachment to the wild is a permanent one. Becoming ever more attuned to the natural wonders around him, he travels over a succession of lakes and streams, pausing to make camp, howl with a wolf, read Shakespeare to a pair of attentive otters and, once, to share a meal with an old man who talks about animal guides and leaves a medicine bundle for him. Readers hoping for the high adventure of the previous books may be disappointed, as Brian is now so skilled that a tipped canoe or a wild storm are only inconveniences, and even bears more hazard than threat; still, Paulsen bases many of his protagonist's experiences on his own, and the wilderness through which Brian moves is vividly observed. Afterword. (Fiction. 11-13) .

Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
Brian's Saga Series, #4
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.69(w) x 8.68(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Brian sat quietly, taken by a peace he had not known for a long time, and let the canoe drift forward along the lily pads. To his right was the
shoreline of a small lake he had flown into an hour earlier. Around him was the lake itself, an almost circular body of water of approximately
eighty acres surrounded by northern forest--pine, spruce, poplar and birch--and thick brush.

It was late spring--June 3, to be exact--and the lake was teeming, crawling, buzzing and flying with life. Mosquitos and flies filled the
air, swarming on him, and he smiled now, remembering his first horror at the small blood drinkers. In the middle of the canoe he had an old coffee
can with some kindling inside it, and a bit of birchbark, and he lit them and dropped a handful of green poplar leaves on the tiny fire. Soon smoke
billowed out and drifted back and forth across the canoe and the insects left him. He had repellant with him this time--along with nearly two
hundred pounds of other gear--but he hated the smell of it and found it didn't work as well as a touch of smoke now and then. The blackflies and
deerflies and horseflies ignored repellant completely--he swore they seemed to lick it off--but they hated the smoke and stayed well off the

The relief gave him time to see the rest of the activity on the lake. He remained still, watching, listening.

To his left rear he heard a beaver slap the water with its tail and dive--a warning at the intruder, at the strange smoking log holding the
person. Brian smiled. He had come to know beaver for what they truly were--engineers, family-oriented home builders. He'd read that most of the
cities inEurope were founded by beaver. That beaver had first felled the trees along the rivers and dammed them up. The rising water killed more
trees and when the food was gone and the beaver had no more bark to chew they left. The dams eventually broke apart, and the water drained and left
large clearings along the rivers where the beaver had cut down all the trees. Early man came along and started cities where the clearings lay.
Cities like London and Paris were founded and settled first by beaver.

In front and to the right he heard the heavier footsteps of a deer moving through the hazel brush. Probably a buck because he heard no smaller
footsteps of a fawn. A buck with its antlers in velvet, more than likely, moving away from the smell of smoke from the canoe.

A frog jumped from a lily pad six feet away and had barely entered the water when a northern pike took it with a slashing strike that tore the
surface of the lake and flipped lily pads over to show their pale undersides.

Somewhere a hawk screeeeeennned, and he looked for it but could not see it through the leaves of the trees around the lake. It would be
hunting. Bringing home mice for a nest full of young. Looking for something to kill.

No, Brian thought--not in that way. The hawk did not hunt to kill. It hunted to eat. Of course it had to kill to eat--along with all other
carnivorous animals--but the killing was the means to bring food, not the end. Only man hunted for sport, or for trophies.

It is the same with me as with the hawk, Brian felt. He turned the paddle edgeways, eased it forward silently and pulled back with an even stroke. I
will kill to eat, or to defend myself. But for no other reason.

In the past two years, except for the time with Derek on the river, in a kind of lonely agony he had tried to find things to read or watch that
brought the woods to him. He missed the forest, the lakes, the wild as he thought of it, so much that at times he could not bear it. The
guns-and-hunting magazines, the hunting and fishing videos on television sickened him. Men using high-velocity weapons to shoot deer or elk from so
far away they could barely see them, or worse, blasting them from a blind or the back of a Jeep; baiting bear with pits full of rotten meat and
shooting them with rifles that could stop a car; taking bass for sport or money in huge contests with fancy boats and electronic gear that located
each fish individually.

Sport, they called it. But they weren't hunting or fishing because they needed to; they were killing to kill, not eat, to prove some kind of
worth, and he stopped reading the magazines and watching the videos. His survival in the wilderness had made him famous, in a small way, and some
of the magazines interviewed him, as did some of the hunting and sporting shows on television, but they got it all wrong. Completely wrong.

"Boy conquers savage wilderness!" some magazines said in the blurbs on the covers. "Learns to beat nature . . ."

It wasn't that way. Had never been that way. Brian hadn't conquered anything. Nature had whipped him, not the other way around; had beaten him
down and pounded the stupidity out of his brain until he had been forced to bend, forced to give, forced to learn to survive. He had learned the
most important fact of all, and the one that is so hard for many to understand or believe: Man proposes, nature disposes. He hadn't conquered
nature at all--he had become part of it. And it had become part of him, maybe all of him.

And that, he thought as the canoe slid gently forward, had been exactly the problem.

Meet the Author

Among Gary Paulsen’s best-known titles are Brian’s Winter and Soldier’s Heart. This novel is based on his own life.

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