The Quest Begins (Seekers Series #1)

The Quest Begins (Seekers Series #1)

4.5 515
by Erin Hunter, Gary Chalk
     
 

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Three bears . . . one destiny

From the author of the nationally bestselling Warriors books comes a brand-new animal fantasy series. Three young bears from different species—black, polar, and grizzly—are separated from their families when they are just young cubs. They find themselves brought together on a perilous journey. Fate is about to

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Overview

Three bears . . . one destiny

From the author of the nationally bestselling Warriors books comes a brand-new animal fantasy series. Three young bears from different species—black, polar, and grizzly—are separated from their families when they are just young cubs. They find themselves brought together on a perilous journey. Fate is about to change all these bears lives forever, setting their paws on a path toward a future they cannot yet imagine . . .

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“These stories will be welcomed by the Warriors series’ many fans.”
Publishers Weekly

Hunter (the Warriors series) kicks off a new series as three young bears, unknown to one another, each embark on a perilous journey. Two of the characters, Kallik, a polar bear, and Toklo, a grizzly, were born in the wild and lose their mothers to tragic events. To survive, they must draw on their underdeveloped instincts. Lusa, a black bear, has grown up in "the Bear Bowl," a protected environment at a zoo, but to fulfill a promise (to Toklo's rescued mother, as it turns out) she leaves it and ventures into wilderness. The bears find help from other, more seasoned bears and are comforted by their belief in mythical bear spirits as they navigate the harsh realities of life in the wild. By the end, only Toklo and Lusa have met, and the purpose of the quest has not been fully revealed. Although this book does not seem as tightly written as the Warriors titles, readers will appreciate the bears' struggle to survive, along with Hunter's environmental theme. The suspenseful conclusion will build in an eager audience for the next installment. Ages 10-up. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 10 to 14.

In this book three young bears from different walks of life find themselves alone and learning what it means to survive. Two of the young bears, Kallik and Toklo, experience a tragic event that takes them from a safe and nurturing environment into a sink or swim situation. They must rely on their instincts and other animals to find food. The third young bear, Lusa, lives where food is plentiful and protected from predators. She calls her home the Bear Bowl and yearns to find out what lies outside of it. One day temptation takes hold of Lusa and she finds herself in the wilderness seeking a bear called Toklo. All three bears have one thing in common. They have a legend that tells the story of a bear that lives in the stars. Each bear depicts this Native American legend with a little different twist. Yet, the jest reflects how things happen for a reason, even if they do not seem fair at the time. The author, Erin Hunter, has created a unique tale of how life in the wild as a young animal is not much different then life as a teenager. Both rely on family for survival skills and need love and encouragement to achieve beyond living day to day. Without these, life is difficult and without meaning. This book seems more character driven then plot driven. Sometimes it becomes confusing switching from character to character. This is book one in the "Seeker" series. Reviewer: Julia Beiker

VOYA - Kathleen Beck
The quartet who write as Erin Hunter begin a new series with this title, and eager readers are already lining up. Three bear cubs independently set out on an epic journey to the Arctic, each drawn by the North Star. Kallik is an orphan polar bear; Toklo is a grizzly, abandoned by his mother; Lusa, a black bear, has escaped from the zoo to search for Toklo and bring him a message from his mother. Toklo is the unwilling protector of Ujurak, a shape-shifter who may be bear one minute and eagle the next. In the wild, each faces hunger, natural obstacles, and danger from other bears as their paths gradually converge. As the first volume, this story is slowed by the need for much setup. Bear society promises to be less complex than that of the feral cats in the popular Warriors series, but there is the additional challenge of delineating the habits and behavior of three different species of bears. The bears share a language but have different mythologies and expectations of the world. The natural history is convincing, which makes the introduction of fantasy elements in the form of Ujurak a little jarring. The shape-shifter is a common figure in Native American mythology and Ujurak's character will no doubt be more fully developed in subsequent volumes. As in Warriors, life in the wild is portrayed as sometimes violent and tragic. This promising beginning opens what will doubtless be a much-requested series. Reviewer: Kathleen Beck
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

In this new series, readers meet three bear cubs: Kallik, a polar bear; Lusa, a black bear; and Toklo, a brown bear. The story follows their adventures, narrated in alternating chapters. Kallik loses her mother in a killer-whale attack and is separated from her brother. She has never lived on her own before, and never been anywhere but on the ice. Lusa hears stories about life in the wild that eventually cause her to leave the safety of the zoo. Toklo is abandoned by his mother, who flees into the woods in grief when his brother dies. All three cubs are now learning to survive in the woods with minimal knowledge and ability and with no adult allies. From the first page, this story is exciting and refreshing. The bears' declining habitat is evident, and often throughout their journey the animals have to dodge cars and humans with guns. The plot is fast paced, and the author is apt at creating and sustaining the adrenaline-charged mood of these youngsters on their own.-Jennifer-Lynn Draper, Children's Literature Consultant, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Kirkus Reviews
Once upon a time there were three bears-cubs who live completely separate lives until various tragedies cause their paths to intersect. Gentle, loving Kallik, a polar bear, lives with her family until a disastrously early spring thaw leads to her mother's death. Lusa, a bright and curious black bear, finds her adventurous spirit confined by the zoo where she lives. Toklo, a rebellious grizzly, longs to be independent while hampered by his sickly brother and despairing mother. Then there is Ujurak, who looks like a bear cub (sometimes), but might be something else entirely. Drawn by the beckoning North Star, each sets off on a journey to the unknown. As in her immensely popular Warriors series, Hunter creates a richly sensuous world filled with cruelty, beauty, tenderness, savagery and just enough underlying legendary background to add mystery. Unfortunately, so much effort goes into developing characters and settings that the plot barely gets into motion by the last page. Still, fans of animal fantasies will adore the careful attention to detail, and will haunt the shelves for the next volume. (Fantasy. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060871246
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/10/2009
Series:
Seekers Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
109,750
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Seekers #1: The Quest Begins

Chapter One

Kallik

"A long, long time ago, long before bears walked the earth, a frozen sea shattered into pieces, scattering tiny bits of ice across the darkness of the sky. Each of those pieces of ice contains the spirit of a bear, and if you are good, and brave, and strong, one day your spirit will join them."

Kallik leaned against her mother's hind leg, listening to the story she had heard so many times before. Beside her, her brother, Taqqiq, stretched, batting at the snowy walls of the den with his paws. He was always restless when the weather trapped them inside.

"When you look carefully at the sky," Kallik's mother continued, "you can see a pattern of stars in the shape of the Great Bear, Silaluk. She is running around and around the Pathway Star."

"Why is she running?" Kallik chipped in. She knew the answer, but this was the part of the story where she always asked.

"Because it is snow-sky and she is hunting. With her quick and powerful claws, she hunts seal and beluga whale. She is the greatest of all hunters on the ice."

Kallik loved hearing about Silaluk's strength.

"But then the ice melts," Nisa said in a hushed voice. "And she can't hunt anymore. She gets hungrier and hungrier, but she has to keep running because three hunters pursue her: Robin, Chickadee, and Moose Bird. They chase her for many moons, all through the warm days, until the end of burn-sky. Then, as the warmth begins to leave the earth, they finally catch up to her.

"They gather around her and strike the fatal blow with their spears. The heart's blood of the GreatBear falls to the ground, and everywhere it falls the leaves on the trees turn red and yellow. Some of the blood falls on Robin's chest, and that is why the bird has a red breast."

"Does the Great Bear die?" breathed Taqqiq.

"She does," Nisa replied. Kallik shivered. Every time she heard this story it frightened her all over again. Her mother went on.

"But then snow-sky returns, bringing back the ice. Silaluk is reborn and the ice-hunt begins all over again, season after season."

Kallik snuggled into her mother's soft white fur. The walls of the den curved up and around them, making a sheltering cave of snow that Kallik could barely glimpse in the dark, although it was only a few pawlengths from her nose. Outside a fierce wind howled across the ice, sending tendrils of freezing air through the entrance tunnel into their den. Kallik was glad they didn't have to be out there tonight.

Inside the den, she and her brother were warm and safe. Kallik wondered if Silaluk had ever had a mother and brother, or a den where she could hide from the storms. If the Great Bear had a family to keep her safe, maybe she wouldn't have to run from the hunters. Kallik knew her mother would protect her from anything scary until she was big enough and strong enough and smart enough to protect herself.

Taqqiq batted at Kallik's nose with his large furry paw. "Kallik's scared," he teased. She could make out his eyes gleaming in the darkness.

"Am not!" Kallik protested.

"She thinks robins and chickadees are going to come after her," Taqqiq said with an amused rumble.

"No, I don't!" Kallik growled, digging her claws into the snow. "That's not why I'm scared!"

"Ha! You are scared! I knew it!"

Nisa nudged Kallik gently with her muzzle. "Why are you frightened, little one? You've heard the legend of the Great Bear many times before."

"I know," Kallik said. "It's just . . . it reminds me that soon snow-sky will be over, and the snow and ice will all melt away. And then we won't be able to hunt anymore, and we'll be hungry all the time. Right? Isn't that what happens during burn-sky?"

Kallik's mother sighed, her massive shoulders shifting under her snow-white pelt. "Oh, my little star," she murmured. "I didn't mean to worry you." She touched her black nose to Kallik's. "You haven't lived through a burn-sky yet, Kallik. It's not as terrible as it sounds. We'll find a way to survive, even if it means eating berries and grass for a little while."

"What is berries and grass?" Kallik asked.

Taqqiq wrinkled his muzzle. "Does it taste as good as seals?"

"No," Nisa said, "but berries and grass will keep you alive, which is the important thing. I'll show them to you when we reach land." She fell silent. For a few heartbeats, all Kallik could hear was the thin wail of the wind battering at the snowy walls.

She pressed closer to her mother, feeling the warmth radiating from her skin. "Are you sad?" she whispered.

Nisa touched Kallik with her muzzle again. "Don't be afraid," she said, a note of determination in her voice. "Remember the story of the Great Bear. No matter what happens, the ice will always return. And all the bears gather on the edge of the sea to meet it. Silaluk will always get back on her paws. She's a survivor, and so are we."

"I can survive anything!" Taqqiq boasted, puffing up his fur. "I'll fight a walrus! I'll swim across an ocean! I'll battle all the white bears we meet!"

"I'm sure you will, dear. But why don't you start by going to sleep?" Nisa suggested.

As Taqqiq circled and scuffled in the snow beside her, making himself comfortable, Kallik rested her chin on her mother's back and closed her eyes. Her mother was right; she didn't need to be afraid. As long as she was with her family, she'd always be safe and warm, like she was right now in their den.

Kallik woke to an eerie silence. Faint light filtered through the walls, casting pale blue and pink shadows on her mother and brother as they slept. At first she thought her ears must be full of snow, but when she shook her head, Nisa grunted in her sleep, and Kallik realized that it was quiet because the storm had finally passed.

Seekers #1: The Quest Begins. Copyright © by Erin Hunter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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