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The Haymeadow

The Haymeadow

4.1 23
by Gary Paulsen

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Fourteen-year-old John Barron is asked, like his father and grandfather before him, to spend the summer taking care of their sheep in the haymeadow. Six thousand sheep. John will be alone, except for two horses, four dogs, and all those sheep.

John doesn't feel up to the task, but he hopes that if he can accomplish it, he will finally please his father.


Fourteen-year-old John Barron is asked, like his father and grandfather before him, to spend the summer taking care of their sheep in the haymeadow. Six thousand sheep. John will be alone, except for two horses, four dogs, and all those sheep.

John doesn't feel up to the task, but he hopes that if he can accomplish it, he will finally please his father. But John finds that the adage "things just to sheep" is true when the river floods, coyotes attack, and one dog's feet get cut. Through it all he must rely on his own resourcefulness, ingenuity, and talents to survive this summer in the haymeadow.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW praised the ``taut scenes of physical drama and suspense'' in the Newbery Honor author's tale of a boy who, on his own in a high-country meadow, cares for several thousand sheep one summer. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susan Wilde
In this tale of survival, 14-year-old John Barron is responsible for guarding six thousand sheep for three months with the aid of two horses and four dogs. On the first day alone, he battles a rattlesnake, a skunk, a flash flood, and a ruined camp. In the course of his struggles, John gains an inner understanding of his heritage, the beauty of nature, his true self, and his father's love for him.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-- Put in charge when the regular farmhand takes ill, 14-year-old John is sent up into the mountains for the summer to tend the ranch's sheep flock. Woefully unprepared, the boy has only the four sheep dogs, two horses, and his own common sense to see him through the experience. He also has his impressions of his great-grandfather, a man with whom he feels a strong indentification although they'd never met, to carry him along. The drive up to the summer pasture is uneventful but filled with observations of the landscape and the instinctive interaction between the sheep and the dogs. But as John has been forewarned, things have a way of just happening with sheep--and they do. A lamb who dies from a snake bite, a skunk encounter, an injured dog, a sheep stampede, a flash flood, and a coyote attack all test John's stamina and intelligence--and that's just in the first 48 hours. While the action has all of Paulsen's usual dramatic tension, it is a bit too much in such a short time span. Weeks are brushed aside, to be followed by more physical drama--a bear attack and a nearly fatal accident. Suddenly, John's reticent father appears and has found his voice, telling the boy the truth about the great-grandfather. While the new closeness of the two provides a satisfying ending, these abrupt and not fully credible revelations weaken an otherwise powerful, action-packed story. --Susan Knorr, Milwaukee Public Library
From the Publisher
"...another fine adventure from Paulsen, who deftly blends an action-packed plot and a likable character..."-Booklist

"The action is nonstop...will have readers plunging over each cliffhanger into the next crisis until they finish the book." --The Bulletin, Recommended

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
1010L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people, His most recent books are Masters of Disaster, Lawn Boy Returns, Woods Runner, Notes from the Dog, Mudshark, Lawn Boy, Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day, The Time Hackers, and The Amazing Life of Birds (The Twenty Day Puberty Journal of Duane Homer Leech).

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Haymeadow 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I read it for school and i loved it. I had to read ahead. I think you should get this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Things can always get worse His book is about a kid named John Barron. At the beginning of the story his dad is in the hospital. It is getting close to summer and in the summer they have to take there six thousand sheep up to a valley. His dad always dad this and he is in the hospital so he can¿t. John is thirteen and he has to take care of the six thousand sheep for two and a half months. There are many dangerous animals that room around in the mountains like coyotes, Bears, mountain lions, and many other animals. It is his job to protect the sheep with a gun and a horse to ride. I really liked this book over all because it had a lot of cliff hangers and you never know what was going to happen next. I would rate this book a four because it was an out standing book it was really intense all really at the first chapter. It never was boring. I could really relate to the book because I rose cattle on my dads farm and we us to pasture them in my grandpas woods. I would recommend this book to people how like the outdoors and how like adventurous books. There really are no slow parts of the book. The only thing that I didn¿t like about this book was the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Haymedow there is a ranch that is run by four men working the sheep and the youngest is fourteen. It is spring when the book starts and they are about to take the sheep to the top Haymedow. Someone will have to stay with the sheep for three mouths. The oldest man normally watches them put he got sick and is in the hospital. So it is up to the fourteen year old boy to take care of the sin thousand sheep, four dogs, and two houses. This is a real good book and I liked how I could relate to the store so well. The beginning was slow but in chapter three it picked up and got really interesting. I also didn¿t like how half of the book takes place in the Haymedow and dose not tale about the rest of his life. This book is not in a sequel but it is like the other entire book that he wrote. They all have to do with a person in the wilderness. This book is good for boys how like the outdoors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Haymeadow by Gary Paulsen is a great book. It starts off with a boy named John Barron, his father, also named John Barron, and two hired hands on the farm named Tink and Cawley. John¿s (the boy) mother died when he was just a baby and John wonders about her a lot. He also wonders a lot about his grandfather who was known to be the meanest man to ever live. John is just fourteen years old and the farm that he lives on with his father mainly farms sheep. Each year, they bring their sheep on a two to three day drive to a haymeadow that is surrounded by mountains. Tink is the one who usually stays at the haymeadow with the sheep for three months. A sudden tragedy occurs and Tink goes down with cancer. No one else on the farm has ever stayed with the sheep besides John¿s father but he has to stay home on the ranch to take care of the other animals. John¿s father decides to have John go on the drive alone, for three months, to watch and care for six thousand sheep. The day comes and John goes up to the haymeadow with a covered wagon, four dogs, two horses, and lots of canned food. His dogs do most of the herding but he has to protect the sheep from wild animals and things. John encounters many things while he is staying at the haymeadow. He learns many new things about not only nature but his family as well. If you want to know those things than I suggest you read the book yourself. This book was one that I really enjoyed. I really liked its setting out in the wild. It had a good western theme. It also flowed nicely and was easy to understand. I would suggest this book to any person who likes adventures and the outdoors. The Haymeadow is just like any of Gary Paulsen¿s other books, great! The only thing I could really say bad about this book is that it could have had a better ending. It kind of just stopped and ended. Other than that, I liked everything about the book and think you will too.
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
Fourteen-year-old John Barron lives on the land that used to be his great-grandfather’s ranch. He works the land with his father and his father’s helpers, but he wishes that something in his life would change. He is not sure what. One day, one of his father’s helpers is critically ill, and he has to stay with him in town near the hospital. That leaves only John to take the sheep to the hay meadow for their yearly summer stay. Just him, six thousand sheep, four dogs, and two horses. He is filled with doubt that he can manage this alone. How would he take care of all those sheep? Would he get lonely during those months alone? This is another of Paulsen’s gems about growing up and the character finding out that he is stronger and wiser than he thinks he is. Paulsen’s characters always ring true -to-life and are likeable and very human. The settings are intricately and beautifully described, with his love of nature shining through. This is a wonderful book written for the young, but it also appeals to the older readers, too!
Cricket_2005 More than 1 year ago
Readers who love action books about people who are trying to survive, will love “the Haymeadow” by awards winning author, Gary Paulsen. John has to go to the hay meadow after the person who usually takes the sheep, gets sick with cancer. John protects tall 6,000 sheep, 4 dogs, and 2 horses, from a snake, a skunk, coyotes, and a black bear. My favorite part is when John shoots a coyote because he doesn’t want to do it, but he does it anyway to protect his animals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book I just loved it!! You should totally get this book
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A good book overall it got slow at some parts but there was some where i could not put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Barron who is fourteen years old has to spend the summer taking care of sheep in the haymeadow in the mountains. John will be by himself except for two horses, four dogs, and six thousand sheep. Over the time he is in the haymeadow, John faces many difficulties. Like, for instance, when the river floods and protecting the sheep from attacking coyotes. John has a big challenge in front of him. Will John succeed or will he fail. Read the book The Haymeadow to find out One thing I liked about the book is that I could kind of relate to it. I went out west to Idaho and lived in the mountains with one of my dad¿s friends. It was really fun. Another thing I liked about the book is that it made you want to keep reading it. I couldn¿t put the book down it was so good. I don¿t think this book is part of a series. The Haymeadow reminds me of some of the old western movies that you might see on TV. Anyone who likes adventure books or is about fourteen years old would like this book. If you have read any of Will Hobbs books, you would probably enjoy The Haymeadow or any other books by Gary Paulsen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John a 14 year old boy lives with his dad and two hired hands in the late 1800¿s early 1900¿s. They are sheep farmers and they have thousands of sheep. They have to bring them out to a pasture area every year. It is his first time John has never watched the sheep before but he has to know. He has many weird encounters in the three months he is there alone. The book was all right but I¿ve read better books by Gary Paulsen though. The whole thing was the same. There really wasn¿t anything horrible about the book. The book can be read at any time it isn¿t in any series our anything like that. The book reminds me of an Old Western movie kind of. I think boys would like this book more than girls. The book is like Will Hobbes¿ books because it¿s adventurous. If you like Gary Paulsen¿s books you will probably like The Hay Meadow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am going to review the book Hatchet. Although I have read other books that may beat this one, this is still good. Its a well thought out book, with great detail. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of adventure, and suspense. I can relate to this book because I once lived on a farm and its hard work! I dont know how the kid could handle that big of task on his own! Also the characters are really interesting, and its fun to follow them through there trail of mishaps and hard work. Even though I liked this book, it takes alot of patience to read it. It is very slow paced at the beginning, and takes a while for action to start. Even though most books are like this, this one is pretty slow. I really did like this book, it shows how a teenager is faced with the responsibility of taking care of a big task. Overall, I liked this book and I enjoyed every last bit of it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A perfect book. One of Paulsen's best books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was extremely suspensfull and enjoyable all the way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this book os very interesting because I think that Gary Paulsen is a very great as a auhtor and writer becaus eI think that all of his book get better and better every time he writes a new/or different book and I can't wait till what he comes up with next. So think that YOU shoud read ALL Gary Paulsen books because I think that they are ALL great books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. It was one of those ones where you are sad when you eventually finish it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think u should read this book cause of the fact that it is awesome oh it's true it's true. John is very courageous and very kind hearted and well this book is about a person named John who watched of a ranch of sheep while the previous watcher is in the hospital.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great I could barly put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great! It is very interesting. It tells what it is like to grow up on a sheep ranch. It also tells you that overcoming a fear is good. It is boring in some places. But all in all it is a good book.
KiwiJumpinJack More than 1 year ago
Ok well I think this is a very good book you should at least be 8-older to understand this book. If you like farm life then this book will be perfect for you. Also if you like survival stuff this will be a good book for you too. This book is mostly about a 14 year old boy who has to go to the mountains all alone for three months with 6,000 sheep 2horses and 4dogs and he has a lot of hard times. My favorite part was when john helped animals. But overall this book is very good and you guys should read this book just saying. AWSOME BOOK 
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this wierd book, John spends his summer taking care of 6,000 sheeps!!!!!!!!! OH, HOW EXCITING!!!!!!!!! lAME
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Barron has to spend all summer with a flock of sheep in the Haymeadow. Tink the normal ranch hand has cancer and can't do the job. What Now?!!! GASP, The suspense is killing me!!! NOT!!!!! THIS BOOK IS SO BORING THAT YOU'LL FALL ASLEEP! THEY SHOULD HAVE A WARNING LABLE ON THIS. I THINK WE FOUND A CURE FOR INSOMNIA.