Fear Place

( 6 )

Overview

For Doug's brother, Gordie, the ridge with its spectacular view is a magical, special place, but for Doug, it's The Fear Place. Two years ago, Doug hiked to the ridge during his family's annual camping trip, and he vowed never again to cross the narrow ledge from which the earth dropped away six hundred feet to the canyon below.
But now the boys' parents have been called from their vacation by a family emergency, and Doug and Gordie are alone in the wilderness. After one of ...

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Overview

For Doug's brother, Gordie, the ridge with its spectacular view is a magical, special place, but for Doug, it's The Fear Place. Two years ago, Doug hiked to the ridge during his family's annual camping trip, and he vowed never again to cross the narrow ledge from which the earth dropped away six hundred feet to the canyon below.
But now the boys' parents have been called from their vacation by a family emergency, and Doug and Gordie are alone in the wilderness. After one of their seemingly endless fights, Gordie has stomped away from their campsite. When Girdle doesn't return, Doug fears the worst, particularly when he hears reports that a cougar has been sighted nearby. Doug knows he has to go after his brother, and he knows where he will find him. What he can't imagine is the surprising source of the courage to overcome his fears.

When he and his older brother Gordon are left camping alone in the Rocky Mountains, twelve-year-old Doug faces his fear of heights and his feelings about Gordon--with the help of a cougar.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For 12-year-old Doug, a two-foot-wide ledge on a Colorado mountainside has been the ``fear place'' ever since he became paralyzed with fright while trying to cross it two years ago, on one of the family's annual camping trips. His brother Gordon, who is 18 months older, goads him constantly, trying to make him admit that he's scared. Their arguments come to a boil when a family emergency forces their parents to leave the boys at the campsite. The ``fear place,'' together with a stalking cougar, plays its expected part in the climax as the brothers find that they must work together to survive. Newbery Medalist Reynolds (Shiloh) presents a solid action story, tense and involving although it does play out somewhat predictably. The family dynamic is unusual-a tough-minded Cuban refugee father, a mother whose competitiveness with her own siblings borders on the dysfunctional. And the novelist offers an unexpected dividend in her thoughtful portrait of Doug, who is realistic about his shortcomings even as he works to overcome them. A satisfying wilderness adventure. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A three-week trip to the Colorado Rockies is marred when Doug and Gordon's parents must go to Boston for a funeral and leave the boys alone at the campsite. With no one there to referee, their bickering escalates, and Gordon goes off to camp higher up in the mountains by himself. Doug's hours pass slowly until a cougar begins visiting him regularly. After a few days, Gordon has still not returned, so Doug sets out to find him; the cougar follows. Helped by his observations of the cougar, he overcomes his fear of heights, hiking across a narrow ledge with a sheer drop-off, and finds his brother, who has broken his leg. The return trip is harrowing, but they make it. This story is suspenseful enough to keep readers turning the pages. The sibling rivalry is the most believable part of the plot; the dialogue is snappy and portrays the difficult relationship well. The boys' mother's poor relationship with her brother (who has just died) serves as a telling counterpoint to her sons' problems. Not so believable is the idea that parents would leave their adolescent children alone in such a remote area. The rapport between Doug and the cougar also strains credibility. Nevertheless, the conclusion is satisfying-surviving a life-threatening situation does cause the boys to reflect on their situation, and readers know they will return home all the wiser.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689804427
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Edition description: Original
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 523,057
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh and the Alice series. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.

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Read an Excerpt

He spent the next three days spying on the water hole. If he woke up early, he'd go down before breakfast. He'd go at dusk. And always he walked so quietly he hardly moved a twig — made a practice of it: Indian walking, he called it. Not a sound. Glide over the ground as though it were water. He saw a few deer, a moose and a moose calf, possums. But the cougar was never there.

"If it was a cougar, it was probably passing through," his father told him when Doug brought it up again. "Idaho. Now that's where you'll find the cougars."

Doug gave up then, and worked on trying to get a picture of a deer.

"Take good pictures of two kinds of mammals in the wild," the requirements in his Scout manual read. "Record light conditions, film used, exposure, and other factors, including notes on the activities of the pictured animals."

Also: "Spend three hours of each of five days on at least a twenty-five acre area. List the mammal species you identified by sight or sound."

This would take some doing. He'd love to get a photo of a beaver, but they came out at night, and he wasn't sure he'd brought the right film.

"You still working on the wimp badge?" Gordon asked him one evening as he lay on his sleeping bag, listening to his Walkman.

"You're such a wonder, how come you did Leatherwork?" Doug retorted. Why did he fall into these traps? But he kept on.

"How come you did Insect Study?" He let his voice rise delicately on the words, Insect Study.

"You have a problem with that?"

That's the way it always went. Gordon would start something and when Doug gave back as good as he got, Gordon would say, "You have a problem with that?" or "Think you're smart?" and before you knew it, there would be a fight. Why didn't Doug ever remember to say, "You have a problem with that?"

"Yeah, I have a problem with that," Doug said, barreling on. "The guy who's always talking big is going to stand up in front of the troop and get his 'buggie badge.' Gordie's gonna get a badge with a big bad cricket on it."

"You're gonna get a little squirrel on yours, so why are you spouting off?"

Doug couldn't hold back. He had a trump card he'd been saving, and decided to play it now. "You know those envelopes you mailed out for Mom? About the Court of Honor? You know those stamps you promised to put on?"

Gordon glanced over quickly.

"You know how you were complaining they were all stuck together? Well, that's because I sprinkled pee on them and let them dry."

He made for an opening in the tent, but Gordon tackled him and the fight was on. And all the while Doug was yelling he was laughing, too. He didn't even mind the punches. Got some in himself. Just the thought of Gordon licking those peed-on stamps was worth it.

Usually their parents let them fight things out. Gordon's punches were quicker, but Doug hit harder. In any case, they always stopped short of homicide. This time, however, Mother's voice came shouting over the scuffle: "Damn it, I want this stopped!"

It was not the way she usually talked. Not the way at all.

Doug pulled his leg off Gordon. His elbow was bleeding.

"Like animals!" Mother was standing at the door of the ten now. Her voice seemed to fill up all the space in the clearing. "We come out here to give you boys an experience that most kids would give anything to have, and you spend it fighting with each other. I'm sick of the quarreling. Sick to death of this ridiculous, idiotic, insane bickering over the slightest little thing!"

"Doug just told me..." Gordon began.

"I don't want to hear what Doug told you. I want peace. I have enough on my mind without this. Do you understand?" He voice was shrill.

"Yes," Doug answered.

Gordon nodded.

She stalked off toward the woods then, and Doug noticed that her chin trembled. Were they really that bad? It had to be more than just the fight. They'd fought dozens of times before, and worse than this, too. Her worry over Uncle Lloyd, no doubt. The outburst probably didn't have much to do with them at all.

Gordon, however, still furious, took Doug's backpack a overturned it onto the ground. Underpants, T-shirts, half-worn socks rolled up in balls, sweat shirts...

Doug didn't try to stop him, didn't even go over and empty out his. He just waited until Gordon had stomped outside, then tore a page out of his notebook and in big letters, wrote GORDIE LICKS PEE, and laid it on Gordon's sleeping bag.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2010

    i really liked this mysteries book with a lot of mystery and exitement.

    I just finished a book called The Fear Place.I rate this book five a star book because it is not a bad book I actully liked it. I think anyone can read this book because well it has a good ending to it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2006

    Review of the Fear Place

    Gordon and Doug are trapped in the wilderness in the Rockey Mountains.But then they call thier fammily for helb but no responed.Thee mother of the boys brother has just died.so they attend to his funeral.They have been spotted by a cougar nearby. So Doug tucks away his fears to rescue his brother and tries not to mind the hieghts.Then the boys voices has been spotted by a girl.they have been rescued.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    Go along for the hike!

    This was an exciting book in a wilderness setting with two very different brothers. It is much more realistic than Gary Paulsen books. If you are not an outdoor type, you may connect with the brothers different struggles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2001

    Exciting Survival Troubles

    The Fear Place really foccusses in on the two brothers, Gordon and Doug's, problems and nature. The reason I enjoyed it so much is because it relates to me. I highly reccommend this book to anybody who likes nature or survival books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2001

    Wilderness adventure lacks Shiloh Stardom

    Could you imagine being on a 2ft. wide trail with a 600ft. drop to your side? In the book, 'The Fear Place', the Grillo's set out to the Rockies for fun and adventure and run into obstacles they have to overcome. Doug and Gordon are suddenly alone in the wilderness when their parents leave for a family emergency. A fight causes the brothers to split and rumors of a cougar in the park add another layer of fear. Doug has to struggle, and try to overcome, his inner fears, his age, and his hate towards his brother to slove the problems he is faced with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2000

    Unspeakable Suspense

    I loved The Fear Place because it kept me reading with great suspense and convinced me that reading is not bad at all. I also learned that you don't always need to take dares just because people call you a chicken. It related to my life when my brother and I got in a fight. This book taught me that running away is not the answer. I enjoyed The Fear Place and I hope you will too!

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