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Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Series #4)

Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Series #4)

4.3 152
by Gary Paulsen

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For more than a decade, readers and reviewers everywhere have praised Gary Paulsen's exciting stories about brave Brian Robeson. In the Newbery Honor book Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian was stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet to help him survive. The River brought 15-year-old Brian back to the wilderness for a


For more than a decade, readers and reviewers everywhere have praised Gary Paulsen's exciting stories about brave Brian Robeson. In the Newbery Honor book Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian was stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet to help him survive. The River brought 15-year-old Brian back to the wilderness for a government project -- where he was left with a wounded partner and a rapid river to navigate. An alternative sequel, Brian's Winter, posed the question: What if Brian had not been rescued? Now comes Brian's Return -- the final, gripping conclusion to Paulsen's extraordinary saga.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Dr. Ruth Cox
It has been two years since the small plane crashed in the wilderness and Brian is now nearly sixteen. No matter how hard he tries, he does not fit into today's fast-paced world. He longs for the solitude of the northern lakes and woods. After a vicious fight with a high school football player, Brian is sent to a counselor to work out his problems. Brian just wants to go back home to the woods. Paulsen spends sixty pages of this novel preparing Brian for his trip back to the northern wilderness. The reader learns in great detail about specific types of bows and arrows, as well as other camping/survival equipment. With a canoe and his bow and arrows, Brian blends back into the woods and waterways he loves so much. An encounter with a bear and a torrential rainstorm only remind him that one must prepare for the unexpected in the wilderness. Also unexpected is the arrival of the old woodsman, Billy. When Brian tells Billy about the deer he saw that day, and how it looked directly at him, Billy says that it is Brian's "medicine deer" and he must listen to what the deer tells him. In the morning Brian finds a rawhide loop with a bit of whitetail deer tail and a crow feather tied to it-medicine to guide him. Brian dips his paddle into the water and as his canoe silently glides through the pristine wilderness he knows that he will follow his medicine, wherever it will take him. Paulsen fans will love this final chapter in Brian's quest for the woodsman's way of life. The author's note explains that the things that happen to Brian in the four novels-Hatchet (Simon & Schuster, 1987/VOYA February 1988), The River (Delacorte, 1991/VOYA August 1991), Brian's Winter (Delacorte, 1996/VOYA February 1997), and Brian's Return-have happened to Paulsen during his life-long romance with the wilderness. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).
To quote KLIATT's Nov. 1998 review of the hardcover edition: In this conclusion to the story that began with the classic survival tale Hatchet and continued in The River and Brian's Winter, Brian Robeson has returned to civilization—and he hates it. Back home and in high school, he tries to fit in, but the noise and the lack of solitude trouble him, and he misses the woods desperately...Brain makes a careful list of what he needs to bring with him to survive alone in the north woods, from a canoe to the right kind of arrowheads—and the complete works of Shakespeare. But nature is unpredictable, as Brian is reminded when a deer leaps into his canoe and capsizes it, a storm collapses his tent, and he pokes his leg with an arrow. The beauty and joy of being in the wild help Brian rise above the challenges he faces, and an encounter with a stranger reaffirms his dedication to life in the woods...In spare and evocative prose, the novel conveys his love of the wild. Readers will be intrigued by Brain's list and his survival skills, and enjoy his adventures, though they are not quite as dramatic as those in the other novels. This quick read will appeal to reluctant readers as well as to the many fans of Hatchet and its sequels. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Random House, Dell Laurel-Leaf, 120p. 18cm., $5.50. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up--Readers who have been dissatisfied with the various endings to the story of Brian of Hatchet (Bradbury, 1987) fame now have another alternative ending--perhaps the one for which they've been waiting. In Brian's Return, Paulsen describes the boy's escalating inability to participate in modern American teenage life, climaxing in a physical confrontation outside a pizza parlor during which Brian behaves as if he's been confronted by a threatening wild animal. Sent for counseling after this incident, he realizes that he needs to return to the wild and lead an existence attuned to nature rather than MTV. This seems to be a logical conclusion for him, and readers have long since ceased to worry about this young man's ability to cope with any hazard nature may throw his way, so they can leave him in the North Woods with absolute contentment. It is a relief that Paulsen's considerable talents are now freed to address other subjects.--Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Paulsen brings the story he began in Hatchet (1987) and continued in the alternate sequels The River (1991) and Brian's Winter (1996) around to a sometimes-mystical close. Surviving the media coverage and the unwanted attention of other high school students has become more onerous to Brian than his experiences in the wild; realizing that the wilderness has become larger within him than the need to be with people, Brian methodically gathers survival equipment-listed in detail-then leaves his old life behind. It takes some time, plus a brutal fight and sessions with a savvy counselor, before Brian reaches that realization, but once out under the trees, it's obvious that his attachment to the wild is a permanent one. Becoming ever more attuned to the natural wonders around him, he travels over a succession of lakes and streams, pausing to make camp, howl with a wolf, read Shakespeare to a pair of attentive otters and, once, to share a meal with an old man who talks about animal guides and leaves a medicine bundle for him. Readers hoping for the high adventure of the previous books may be disappointed, as Brian is now so skilled that a tipped canoe or a wild storm are only inconveniences, and even bears more hazard than threat; still, Paulsen bases many of his protagonist's experiences on his own, and the wilderness through which Brian moves is vividly observed. Afterword. (Fiction. 11-13) .

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Brian's Saga Series , #4
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Brian sat quietly, taken by a peace he had not known for a long time, and let the canoe drift forward along the lily pads. To his right was the
shoreline of a small lake he had flown into an hour earlier. Around him was the lake itself, an almost circular body of water of approximately
eighty acres surrounded by northern forest--pine, spruce, poplar and birch--and thick brush.

It was late spring--June 3, to be exact--and the lake was teeming, crawling, buzzing and flying with life. Mosquitos and flies filled the
air, swarming on him, and he smiled now, remembering his first horror at the small blood drinkers. In the middle of the canoe he had an old coffee
can with some kindling inside it, and a bit of birchbark, and he lit them and dropped a handful of green poplar leaves on the tiny fire. Soon smoke
billowed out and drifted back and forth across the canoe and the insects left him. He had repellant with him this time--along with nearly two
hundred pounds of other gear--but he hated the smell of it and found it didn't work as well as a touch of smoke now and then. The blackflies and
deerflies and horseflies ignored repellant completely--he swore they seemed to lick it off--but they hated the smoke and stayed well off the

The relief gave him time to see the rest of the activity on the lake. He remained still, watching, listening.

To his left rear he heard a beaver slap the water with its tail and dive--a warning at the intruder, at the strange smoking log holding the
person. Brian smiled. He had come to know beaver for what they truly were--engineers, family-oriented home builders. He'd read that most of the
cities inEurope were founded by beaver. That beaver had first felled the trees along the rivers and dammed them up. The rising water killed more
trees and when the food was gone and the beaver had no more bark to chew they left. The dams eventually broke apart, and the water drained and left
large clearings along the rivers where the beaver had cut down all the trees. Early man came along and started cities where the clearings lay.
Cities like London and Paris were founded and settled first by beaver.

In front and to the right he heard the heavier footsteps of a deer moving through the hazel brush. Probably a buck because he heard no smaller
footsteps of a fawn. A buck with its antlers in velvet, more than likely, moving away from the smell of smoke from the canoe.

A frog jumped from a lily pad six feet away and had barely entered the water when a northern pike took it with a slashing strike that tore the
surface of the lake and flipped lily pads over to show their pale undersides.

Somewhere a hawk screeeeeennned, and he looked for it but could not see it through the leaves of the trees around the lake. It would be
hunting. Bringing home mice for a nest full of young. Looking for something to kill.

No, Brian thought--not in that way. The hawk did not hunt to kill. It hunted to eat. Of course it had to kill to eat--along with all other
carnivorous animals--but the killing was the means to bring food, not the end. Only man hunted for sport, or for trophies.

It is the same with me as with the hawk, Brian felt. He turned the paddle edgeways, eased it forward silently and pulled back with an even stroke. I
will kill to eat, or to defend myself. But for no other reason.

In the past two years, except for the time with Derek on the river, in a kind of lonely agony he had tried to find things to read or watch that
brought the woods to him. He missed the forest, the lakes, the wild as he thought of it, so much that at times he could not bear it. The
guns-and-hunting magazines, the hunting and fishing videos on television sickened him. Men using high-velocity weapons to shoot deer or elk from so
far away they could barely see them, or worse, blasting them from a blind or the back of a Jeep; baiting bear with pits full of rotten meat and
shooting them with rifles that could stop a car; taking bass for sport or money in huge contests with fancy boats and electronic gear that located
each fish individually.

Sport, they called it. But they weren't hunting or fishing because they needed to; they were killing to kill, not eat, to prove some kind of
worth, and he stopped reading the magazines and watching the videos. His survival in the wilderness had made him famous, in a small way, and some
of the magazines interviewed him, as did some of the hunting and sporting shows on television, but they got it all wrong. Completely wrong.

"Boy conquers savage wilderness!" some magazines said in the blurbs on the covers. "Learns to beat nature . . ."

It wasn't that way. Had never been that way. Brian hadn't conquered anything. Nature had whipped him, not the other way around; had beaten him
down and pounded the stupidity out of his brain until he had been forced to bend, forced to give, forced to learn to survive. He had learned the
most important fact of all, and the one that is so hard for many to understand or believe: Man proposes, nature disposes. He hadn't conquered
nature at all--he had become part of it. And it had become part of him, maybe all of him.

And that, he thought as the canoe slid gently forward, had been exactly the problem.

Meet the Author

GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Flat Broke; Liar, Liar; 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).

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Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 152 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the woods, completely alone with no house or electricity is Brian Robinson. In Brian's Return, Brian is a believable character that you will get attached to when you read. Brian develops as the story goes along. This book is in a nature wonderland in present day Canada. Brian couldn't handle the city life in New York City so he moved back into the Canadian woods for another epic adventure. The story has little dialog but Brian has conversations with himself. This book has some suspense and the atmosphere is quiet and full of beauty. This great book will leave you wanting to know more about Brian and his adventures in the woods.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The last story my son and i shared when he was dying. When it's my turn, i will go north to find him. Safe bet he LOVED the book(s). I am forever grateful to Gary for writing and to the fans who coaxed the story out into the open. God bless.
Balina More than 1 year ago
I love this series. from all the books, this is the best. Can't wait to read the next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book that I read was Brians Return. I thought that this was a very good book becauseit is adventurous and exciting. Here is a short description of the book, Brian gets rescued from thge woods 2 years ago and is brought to the city and he doesn't like it there. So he starts to plan and buy equipment like a bow for hunting and a canoe to travel in. So he gets flown out to a chain of lakes and he canoes up them, some interesting things happen to him like a deer jumping off of land into his canoe but thats all that I am going to tell you so I don't ruin the story. It is a pretty good book so I will have to give it a four star rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brian's Return as well as Hatchet, Brian's Winter, The River, is the best book I have ever read. Gary Paulsen is such a dramatic writer that I am sure will eventually hit the Bestsellers!Thanks!
Maya_Jack_Blue More than 1 year ago
Brian’s return by Gary Paulsen is a good book because it talks about the struggles and how hard life can be. When he come’s home he feels disconnected with everything and everyone so he goes back to the woods to find why. My favored part is when he finds out that a wolf has peed on his canoe because it allows a little humor. I recommend this to like books that are funny but has action.
UTA-Star-Wars-Lover More than 1 year ago
If you have read Hatchet or maybe Brian’s winter or maybe both you would know he survived in the woods but when he goes home, he doesn’t fit in. Of course he goes back into the woods. When he goes into the woods he will need to survive until he gets to the smallhorns. Of course this book is funny with some of the people in the book. So if you like Brian you should read this book.
MLP-Lover More than 1 year ago
Brian's Return written by Gary Paulsen is AMAZING its so like a adventure! Everyone should read this book because everyone who likes funny comments or action scenes this book is for you! It is only 18 chapters as well I can list at least 5 parts were he does something funny but I won’t spoil it for you guys!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book. Please keep writing Gary. People dont understand what a good topic this is. This age of children constantly have their heads in front of a TV or an ipod and dont get outside as much. But this book and the entire series has convinced me and my friends to focus on the environment, go outside more, and just enjoy the world. I truly loved this book and this series and cant wait to read more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like adventure books or if you like the wilderness, then you should read the book Brian¿s Return. Brian Robeson is a 16 year old boy who can¿t seem to fit into high school. Some years earlier, he survived a plane crash and 50 some odd days in the wilderness alone. But now he plans to go back to the woods but this time he makes no plans on coming home. This is a very good sereis. Once you start reading it you won¿t be able to stop. You will keep on wanting a knew book all the time.
BenTheBeast More than 1 year ago
This book is the worst book I've ever read. It has no plot, no character development, no good elements about it. You liked Hatchet? Most people did. This is a cash grabber for the ages. First, he wants to go back to the wilderness, they put way, Way, WAY, WAY, WAY, too much detail into every little thing. And the a magical deer that gives up magical medicine. #noplot#moneygrabber
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
I know I keep putting 3 stars for these books, but that just means I like them. Sure there's moments where I really like it. But 3 stars is good. It really is a good series.
Alyssa Camden More than 1 year ago
it was very good but some parts of the book eere a little boring
JM53 More than 1 year ago
this book has soo many details in the amazing stories before brian's winters time. and i cant wait to read brians hunt because these books are just amazing to a boy who is 13 just like me to battle the wilderness with just a hatchet and with a right state of mind. this book is spellbinding as in the book " beats the hell out of the foot ball player" the detail was enormouse in the suspense of the pummling of the bullies face and him striking every blow. this man i think should diserve 1,000 awards for these books. when i got hooked on the hatchet i just kept reading i even got in trouble reading these books. this book made me realize how hard it would be just to survive 54 days in the wilderness on nothing but rasberries and fish for a month and a half. this book has moved me in so many ways and i hope involves other people to and binds them in these ways i have felt to. scincerly joseph manz.
kcast610 More than 1 year ago
Of course those of you who read The River knew Paulsen would write this book. He had to write it. How else was Brian going to test out that great Canoe named "The Raft" which Derek sent him. As Brian was on the plane, flying back to the wild, an old man sat next to him and said (great quote) "well, you can take the man out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the man." In that environment, your mind, your soul finds peace. Brian just HAD to get back to the woods again to find that sense of peace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brian¿s Return is written by Gary Paulsen. I believe the author¿s purpose for writing this is to show people what your life would be like to run away, or if you had to survive out in the wilderness. I think that the author is trying to get the attention of the reader. The author has Brian telling the story. I think the author is trying to compare this to real life by showing what it would be like to run away from home. I could connect to Brian in the story because I and a lot of people have thought about running away. I think that the author was successful in writing this story because I learned what the author wanted me to see. This book compares to the movie lost because the people were lost on an island and so is Brian. The significant thing about the books title is that Brian did go back to the island. I would recommend this book to someone that is thinking about running away because they will realize not to run away. I agreed with the author and I liked the book it was interesting. I felt that the ending ended too soon because I hoped it would have went on longer. I rate this book a four, because the author had some good ideas.
Anonymous 3 months ago
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ReadingOverTheShoulder More than 1 year ago
Better than The River, but not as good as Hatchet or Brian's Winter. It makes the assumption that all three previous books actually happened, which is a contradiction but not impossible to overcome. This more mature Brian definitely creates a different tone. It felt melancholy. All in all it feels like a natural continuation of Brian's story. More reviews at ReadingOverTheShoulder.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
Brian left the woods that had been his home in the book HATCHET. He has been in the civilized world for two years, now, but he still doesn't fit in. Once he had connected with the forest, the forest was a part of him. Nothing felt right about his life. His values differed from the other kids at school who wanted to hang out at the mall or play video games. He hungered for solitude and the stillness of the forest. He tried to find ways to cope, by sleeping under the stars and by seeking out parks and natural places. Eventually, he started planning his return to the natural forest, ordering things in catalogs that he thought he would need. This is another amazing book. Filled with a profound hunger for the woods and for solitude, and a life based simply on survival, it is irresistible, profound, and very memorable. I read the other books about Brian, and this one is just as good, if not better. It is beautiful in its simplicity and profound in the truths it presents. Although very short, each word packs a wallop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sooooo Good! Capital G in good!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Besides Hatchet this is probably my favorite continuation of Brian's adventures in the woods. Brian is having trouble fitting back into normal life. It is not until he meets Caleb that he realizes in needs to be back out in the wild. This time more prepared and following his heart and soul with what the woods tell and offer him. In all a good read.