Wild Man Island

Wild Man Island

3.9 20
by Will Hobbs
     
 

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After fourteen-year-old Andy slips away from his kayaking group to visit the wilderness site of his archaeologist father's death, a storm strands him on Admiralty Island, Alaska, where he manages to survive, encounters unexpected animal and human inhabitants, and looks for traces of the earliest prehistoric immigrants to America. See more details below

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Overview

After fourteen-year-old Andy slips away from his kayaking group to visit the wilderness site of his archaeologist father's death, a storm strands him on Admiralty Island, Alaska, where he manages to survive, encounters unexpected animal and human inhabitants, and looks for traces of the earliest prehistoric immigrants to America.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For the younger set, Little Raccoon by Lilian Moore, illus. by Doug Cushman, unites three previously published nature adventures (Little Raccoon and the Thing in the Pool; Little Raccoon and the Outside World; and Little Raccoon and No Trouble at All). Humorous b&w vignettes appear throughout the beginning chapter book. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's March 2002 review of the hardcover edition: Hobbs sets this survival story off the coast of Alaska, where he himself has had experience sea kayaking. Andy, the protagonist, tells this in the first person, making the adventure all the more vivid and exciting for the reader. He chooses an Adventure Alaska trip near the place where his father died some years before while studying caves for evidence of human habitation before humans could have walked across the straits from Siberia. While Andy is away from the group to make a pilgrimage to the place his father died, a storm whips up and Andy and his kayak are blown far off course. This struggle against the sea and wind is filled with excitement, and then Andy finds a refuge on an island that seems deserted. There are bears around, wolves, and inexplicably, a wild man and a large black Newfoundland dog. The rest of the plot revolves around Andy's attempts to find out who this man is and how he got there. Could it be Andy's father? He definitely is well educated and interested in archeology. Andy's resourcefulness and his courage help him to persevere until he finds out the answers as he awaits rescue. Again, Hobbs proves his skill at placing YA readers into wilderness environments as they follow the adventures of his teenage heroes. KLIATT Codes: JS*�Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, HarperTrophy, 184p. map.,
— Claire Rosser
VOYA
On a sea-kayaking trip to Alaska's southeastern coastal region, Andy Galloway sets out to visit the site where his father died gathering evidence to support a revolutionary archaeological theory. Heaved onto the shore of Admiralty Island by an unexpected tempest, Andy must survive the dangers of Alaska's rainforest. There, fleeing grizzlies, Andy encounters a wild man who appears to hail from the Stone Age. Plunged into an archaeological adventure when he discovers an ancient burial chamber, Andy is forced to choose between rescue and solving the mystery of America's first inhabitants. A well-paced adventure, this novel combines survival saga, mystery, and archaeological expedition. Generated by Hobbs's archaeological interests and experiences kayaking along Alaska's island shores, the book's plot is plausible and its setting realistic. Readers sense that "nature still rules on Admiralty," yet the vivid landscape descriptions that awe and inspire in Hobbs' Far North (Morrow, 1996/VOYA February 1997) and The Big Wander (Atheneum, 1992/VOYA December 1992) are missing. Absent too are the poignant relationships between characters that distinguish his finest stories. Hobbs's fans captivated by characters such as Gabe, Raymond, Clay, and Cloyd might find this title somewhat unsatisfying, but readers who enjoyed Ghost Canoe (Morrow, 1997/VOYA August 1997) similarly will be engaged. Those interested in archaeology will be pleased particularly with the book's further reading citations. Both avid and reluctant readers will overlook the peppering of editorial mistakes as they traipse through the wilderness with Andy. Hobbs's renown among avid and reluctant readers ensures the popularity of hislatest effort, and librarians will want to stock this title on middle-level fiction shelves. PLB Korthals
Fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway is with his mother on a sea kayak trip off the coast of Alaska. After going by himself on a personal pilgrimage to see the site of his archeologist father's death, Andy is marooned on Admirality Island. He soon discovers that he is not alone, but is being observed by a man living on the island, hoping to avoid detection. This adventure is driven by secrets only the man�who befriends Andy�knows. Together, they learn about the origins and arrival of the first Americans to land on this remote island off the coast of Alaska. Consistent with Hobbs' other Alaska and Northwest Territory stories, readers ages ten-years-old and up will find this novel exciting to read, and historically informative. Hobbs provides much good context for his fictional narrative. A great read for all. 2002, HarperCollins, 184 pp., Thompson
Children's Literature
Yet another top-notch thriller from Hobbs (Far North, Jason's Gold, Down The Yukon, among others,) this is an emotionally charged novel about a 14-year-old boy who slips away from a kayaking trip to search for a memory of his late father. Andy Galloway could never have imagined what he would find instead on a remote Southeast Alaska island. The book is crammed with detailed perils such as high winds, strong tides and sea lions that ram kayaks, and Andy soon finds that the wrong choice, or even a wrong step, could kill him quite handily. He is totally on his own if he wants to survive, or is he? Is he hallucinating when he sees the "wild man," and does the man want to help him, or keep him from telling anyone what he has seen on the island? As usual, Hobbs' details are spot-on, from the deadly lethargy of hypothermia to the body-clenching pain of starvation. Yet he's also good at describing the beauty of this lethal landscape and the satisfaction that comes from having seen a difficult task through to the end. One quibble, though�when a character is told he cannot have a dog on the island because it might breed with the local wolf pack, why didn't anyone think of suggesting that the dog be neutered? Overall, though, this is a superb piece of storytelling that should make young readers go back to the library or bookstore in search of everything else Hobbs has written. 2002, HarperCollins,
— Donna Freedman
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Set in contemporary Alaska, this adventure yarn follows 14-year-old Andy as he nears the safe conclusion of a guided sea kayaking trip with the nagging thought that he ought to visit the nearby site of his father's accidental death nine years earlier. Sneaking off from the group on the last day, he is soon blown away by a nasty storm. Washed ashore on wild and remote Admiralty Island, he faces starvation, food poisoning, cold, bears, wolves, and the mysterious bearded giant of a man he calls "the Wild Man." Neatly tying together strands of the plot involving his archaeologist father's theories about the early exploration and settlement of North America with episodes that involve caving, wildlife, and a huge Newfoundland dog, Hobbs resolves the story's complexities in ways that protect the characters' integrity and, to a large extent, readers' need for credibility. The author's note explains the mixture of personal experience and collected facts and fictions on which the book hangs in such a way that interested readers might well be persuaded to speculate about the theories posited or investigate those theories with additional research of their own.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In Hobbs's (Down the Yukon, 2001, etc.) latest wilderness survival tale, a Colorado teenager stranded on Alaska's remote Admiralty Island not only encounters bears, wolves, and a hermit with Stone Age weapons, but makes a startling archaeological discovery to boot. Separated from his fellow kayakers by a sudden gale, Andy fetches up ashore, freezing, soaking, and with no supplies except a credit card. Things go downhill from there, especially after a desperate meal of raw shellfish brings on a temporary bout of paralysis. Andy is saved by a friendly dog who leads him to a meeting with David, a huge, shy recluse who had faked his own death a decade before to live entirely off the land. Distrusting David's intentions at first, Andy flees into a system of caves, and finds a burial site that turns out to be thousands of years older than any human remains previously found in the Americas. Andy faces challenges with admirable courage, and his descriptions of woods, wildlife, and the spectacular cave formations he discovers have a ring of authenticity that makes his hardships and adventures as compelling as any of Gary Paulsen's. In the end, everyone wins: David reluctantly sacrifices his solitude to take Andy back to civilization, but then assumes a new role as caretaker of the archaeological site, which allows him to return to the island without entirely losing touch with the outside world. A rugged, satisfying episode for outdoorsy readers. (author's note) (Fiction. 10-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380733101
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/13/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
409,049
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I was pushing the limits. My kayak was out in front of the others but still within shouting distance. So far they weren't calling me back.

It was the sixth day, the last full day of our trip, and this was the area where we were supposed to have the best chance of seeing the humpbacks. Gimme a whale, I thought. I'm ready for forty tons of breaching humpback whale just like on the postcards.

My eyes were locked on the horizon. The last thing I expected was action right under my nose. Whooosh! came a fountain of water and an explosion of breath as something huge burst out of the water only a few yards away. There, right next to me, was the head of what might have been a giant seal. Big eyes, little ears, long whiskers -- I didn't know what it was. The animal looked me over for a second, snorted, then slipped back underwater.

�Wow!� I said under my breath. �Come back and give me another look, big fella.�

For a minute, nothing. I was sure it was gone for good when, suddenly, the sea erupted with fountains and whooshes. This time five of the critters were bobbing up and down and snorting. Their large eyes were dark and mischievous. A furry water polo team with attitude, that's how they struck me.

I waved. In response, they swam straight at me. At the last second, point-blank and enormous, they slipped under my kayak.

When they popped up again, they were back where they had first appeared. Still checking me out, they snorted at me, almost comically. �Cool trick,� I called.

Two, three times, I whacked my paddle on the water, hoping they would repeat their stunt so I could get another close look atthem.

Same as before, they headed straight for me. Same as before, they passed right under my kayak.

�Andy!� came a voice from behind, and there was Monica, paddling toward me like there was no tomorrow. A ski racer in the winters, Monica was the trip leader even though she was the younger of our two guides. I was basically in awe of her.

�Stop! Stop!� she cried, as she reached out and grabbed hold of my kayak.

�What's wrong? I wasn't doing any -- �

�Those are Steller's sea lions, Andy. They can be dangerous! They weigh close to two thousand pounds. Did they snort at you?�

�It was amazing. They wanted to play.�

�Maybe,� she said, raising her eyebrows, �but they can play rough. They were more like charging you, challenging you. A couple of years ago one of them tipped over a kayak. It happened to one of the other compan -- �

Suddenly Monica's eyes went big, and I saw why. Not very far away, an immense whale was bursting out of the sea. Its enormous white flippers flailed as it rose twisting into the air.

For a second the whale seemed to hang suspended, water streaming off its sides. With a resounding splash, it fell on its back into the sea.

Behind us, cheers went up from the group, and someone hollered, �First whale!�

With a huge smile, Monica reached for my shoulder and gave me a forgiving pat. �Humpback whales, Andy! This is what we came for!�

With a sudden pivot, she sped toward the others.

It was going to take me a while to recover from the sting of Monica's reprimand. I was fourteen, as young as Adventure Alaska would allow on these trips, and the only kid in the group. For six days, I'd been trying so hard.

As I paddled on, I thought about what Monica had just said, that we'd come for the whales. In my case, that was only partly true.

Mostly I had come all the way from Colorado to Baranof Island to make a pilgrimage. My father had died on Baranof. Of course, Monica didn't know anything about that.

A few minutes later, with all seven kayaks paddling together, the group witnessed a second breach, and then a third. A little while after that, two humpbacks at once rocketed out of the sea.

�Okay, guys, let's quit paddling,� Monica instructed. �We're about as close as we should get. Let's raft up. Grab on to the kayak next to you.�

She began to tap on the hull of her kayak. �Let's let them know where we are, so they can steer clear. I'd rather not go airborne on a whale, or find myself underneath one when it falls, thank you very much.�

I started tapping on my hull, and so did the paddlers in the four tandem kayaks. Our other guide, Julia, pointed excitedly to the right, where the seagulls were all worked up about something. Julia was my mother's age and our naturalist. We watched as the gulls circled, screaming, over a spot suddenly churning with fish. By the hundreds, small silvery herring were leaping out of the water, frantically it seemed, and we soon found out why. �Bubble net!� Julia cried, as four feeding humpbacks in a tight ring, jaws wide open, exploded through the surface.

I was mesmerized. My father had seen this up close, had told my mother all about it. It was on account of my father that Alaska had always been a magic word for me, a powerful magnet. The older I got, the more strongly I'd felt Alaska's pull.

My father had been convinced that the islands of southeast Alaska were hiding deep, dark secrets from the past. When I was five years old, he died trying to find those secrets.

Flanked by whales breaching in the strait, we paddled across the narrow mouth of Cosmos Cove. Our last campsite was in sight at the foot of the cliff. All my feelings about losing my father, growing up without him, were breaking through the surface.

Wild Man Island. Copyright � by Will Hobbs. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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