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Wild Man Island

Wild Man Island

3.9 20
by Will Hobbs

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Andy is in a world of trouble.

On the last day of a sea kayaking trip in southeast Alaska, fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway paddles away from his group to visit the nearby site where his archaeologist father died trying to solve the mystery of the first Americans. A sudden, violent storm blows Andy's kayak off course and washes him ashore on


Andy is in a world of trouble.

On the last day of a sea kayaking trip in southeast Alaska, fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway paddles away from his group to visit the nearby site where his archaeologist father died trying to solve the mystery of the first Americans. A sudden, violent storm blows Andy's kayak off course and washes him ashore on Admiralty Island, an immense wilderness known as the Fortress of the Bears. Struggling to survive, Andy encounters a dog running with wolves and then a man toting a stone-tipped spear. The wild man vanishes into the forest, but the dog reappears and leads Andy to a cave filled with Stone Age tools and weapons. Running for his life, Andy retreats deep into the cave, where danger, suspense, and discovery await.

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.
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
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
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, though¾when 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
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
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)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
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.

Meet the Author

Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of nineteen novels, including Far North, Crossing the Wire, and Take Me to the River.

Never Say Die began with the author's eleven-day raft trip in 2003 down the Firth River on the north slope of Canada's Yukon Territory. Ever since, Will has been closely following what scientists and Native hunters are reporting about climate change in the Arctic. When the first grolar bear turned up in the Canadian Arctic, he began to imagine one in a story set on the Firth River.

A graduate of Stanford University, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

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Wild Man Island 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!!!! This book should be read by everyone!!!!!!!!
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schsreader0 More than 1 year ago
This book was about Andy Galloway. The setting of the book was in Alaska during 2002-2003. Andy wrecks his kayak and gets lost on Bear Island. He gets saved by the wild man named David. I would recommend this book because it was a very good and entertaining book. And there were some funny parts and some weird parts. One example I would recommend this book would be because Andy was riding his kayak in the morning to find where his father died and Andy wrecked his kayak. Second example would be when Andy found a dog named Bear and a black bear attacked Andy and Bear saved him. My last example would be because when Andy met the wild man named David and David chased Andy through a dark tunnel and then they met and got along with each other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent. Once i picked it up i just couldn't put it down. It kept my attention the entire time and there was never a dull moment. I highly recommend this book. There is action, adventure, mystery; it has it all! When Andy encounters the bear it even made my heart race. Also, the detail in this book is great and gives you a good mental image. There is a lot to learn from this book and it is very interesting. A must read. Well done.
mustad92671 More than 1 year ago
Once I started this book I couldnt stop. Well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CW45 More than 1 year ago
Wild Man Island is a very good book. This book teaches us to never give up when things go bad. The main character is andy. He ends up on an island in Alaska trying to find the place where his father died. Andy gets separated from his group. Andy thinks he will died before anyone can find him. Andy has to deal with bears, wild dogs, and a wild man in his adventure. I think the book will make you sad and happy at the same time.
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HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Hobbs is identified as the "award-winning author of Far North." The inside cover lists fourteen of his other books besides these two. I had never paid any attention to his name before, but after I bought this book I have seen others by him on the juvenile fiction shelves in bookstores. In Wild Man Island, fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway paddles away from his kayaking group to visit the nearby Alaska island wilderness site where his archaeologist father died trying to solve the mystery of the first Americans. A sudden, violent storm blows his kayak off course and strands him on Admirality Island, an immense wilderness known as the Fortress of the Bears, where he struggles to survive. There Andy encounters bears, a dog running with wolves, and then a man carrying a stone-tipped spear. The wild man vanishes into the forest, but the dog reappears, leading Andy to a cave filled with Stone Age tools and weapons. Running for his life, Andy goes back into the cave, where danger, suspense, and discovery await as he looks for traces of the earliest prehistoric immigrants to America. After I purchased the book, I was somewhat dismayed at the Kirkus Reviews blurb on the back which said, "Descriptions of woods, wildlife, and the spectacular cave formations Andy discovers have a ring of authenticity that makes his hardships and adventures as compelling as any of Gary Paulsen's." Even though Paulsen is a Newbery-winning author and has written many books for young people, the first one I read, Dog Song, was so awful that I resolved never to read anything by him again. However, Wild Man Island is very interesting reading and is quite suspenseful, especially toward the end of the book. There are only a few discordant notes. One is that Andy, who narrates the story, says on occasion that he cursed under his breath. No actual curse words are used, which is somewhat amazing, and pleasantly so, given the fact that there are many places where the author could have used them and many modern authors would have done so, but it is still unnecessary even to mention it in the first place and leave the impression that cursing is just a natural, normal, all right thing to do. Also, there are references to theories that place animals on the Alaskan islands up to 40,000 years ago and humans at least 23,000. And there is a little bit, but very little, of environmentalism. Other than these, I really enjoyed reading this book.
Anonemous1 More than 1 year ago
The book, Wild Man Island is about a boy named Andy Galoway that gets separated from his group to go to the place his dad died, Hidden Falls. As he goes back to his group a storm blows him to a different island. There he finds a dog running with the wolves and a wild man in a stranded building. When the man leaves Andy once again finds the dog and follows it to a cave. Andy finds the wild man in the cave and gets trapped in the cave. As Andy continues farther into the cave he find a great discovery and a thrilling adventure unfolds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wild Man Island was a great adventure book that tells how Andy¿s (the main character) kayaking trip went in Alaska. When Andy got lost from his kayaking group he was stranded on an island while it was raining, he had no food in his bag, and has no shelter. As he is looking around the island he finds a factory that has been deserted and later finds a man walking around. This man frightens Andy so much that he can only stare at his long, gray beard. He noticed that the wild man had a spear and a pair of neatly woven wool shoes. I liked everything about this book except the fact that at one point I got confused while Andy was dreaming. I couldn¿t tell if he was awake or sleeping until he said that it was only a dream. Other than that there was nothing that I didn¿t like. What could there have been to make the book worse. It had adventure, suspense, and a little bit of a mystery. Another thing that made this book good is that it¿s an only book, and you won¿t have to worry if the next book is out or an earlier book in a series. There also won¿t be an ending that leaves a blank spot in your mind. As you know this book was written by Will Hobbs and this book is a lot like Gary Paulson¿s books. Wild Man Island is a lot like the Tucket Adventures and the Hatchet series because they¿re about a boy that gets separated from a group and has to try and survive. I would recommend this book to upper level seventh grade readers and average level ninth grader because at time the book can become confusing. Other people that should read this book are people that like to read because it is 179 pages long and for people who like to read adventure books. I gave this book a four out of five stars because there were times when the book got confusing but then it picked right back up. Now I really liked this book because it had lots of adventure, it stayed in first person, and it wasn¿t really long. I also liked the fact that it didn¿t poke around at something, he added some things about it, and got to the point.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great story that is believable. Whether you are 12 or an adult, Wild Man Island keeps you reading with every well written word.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wild Man Island was an OK book. It had a sort of predictable plot, but also delt with some facisnating aspects. I couldn't decide what to rate the book, so I just went with OK. The book sort of reminds me of a class novel - suitable for all ages, but not interesting to all ages. I'd put it right about in ranks with Across Five Aprils.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book it was great and adventurous and exciting. I also liked it because it had a background of a family and how the father died. Overall I thought it was an outstanding book for anyone in between the ages of 10-15.