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The Winter Room

The Winter Room

3.5 14
by Gary Paulsen

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The winter room is where Eldon, his brother Wayne, old Uncle David, and the rest of the family gather on icy cold nights, sitting in front of the stove. There the boys listen eagerly to all of Uncle David's tales of superheroes.

Then one night Uncle David tells the story, "The Woodcutter," and what happens next is terrible—then wonderful.


The winter room is where Eldon, his brother Wayne, old Uncle David, and the rest of the family gather on icy cold nights, sitting in front of the stove. There the boys listen eagerly to all of Uncle David's tales of superheroes.

Then one night Uncle David tells the story, "The Woodcutter," and what happens next is terrible—then wonderful.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Following the events of one year, from plowing to harvest to butchering, this novel offers a compelling description of farming in a bygone time. The narrator, Elgon, is the younger son of a Scandinavian family in northern Minnesota. He begins in spring, a time of softening rather than awakening, and finishes with stories old Nels and Uncle David tell around the stove in winter (the story is set some time in the first half of this century). While work fills their time, the year is not without its lighter moments, like the time Elgon's brother Wayne, inspired by Zane Grey, decides to leap from the hayloft onto the back of one of the plowhorses. Elgon's steady, believable voice tells a story that will inevitably recall Laura Ingalls Wilder--but by way of Hemingway and Jim Harrison. Newbery Award-winner Paulsen never disappoints, and proves his talent again in this remarkably good tale. Ages 11-14. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Bruce Adelson
Winters in the upper Midwest can represent the true meaning of cold, with bitter, icy winds, snow, and frigid temperatures. Regardless of these weather difficulties, particularly prevalent in northern Minnesota where this story is set, Eldon and his older brother Wayne looked forward to the winter. They knew their farm family would gather in the living room, known as the winter room because of its warmth, and listen to their Uncle David regale them with stories and fanciful tales. This delightful book takes the reader through the seasons with the boys and their family, through planting and harvesting time and fall, when animals are slaughtered in preparation for winter's harsh freeze. The author has written a finely detailed book, filled with textured characterizations and wonderful descriptions of life on a large Minnesota farm. The winter highlighted here is proceeding apace until Wayne, who had always idolized his Uncle David, finds himself disillusioned when he discovers that the stories told by the uncle he looks up to are likely nothing more than tall tales spun by an old man. Wayne sinks into profound despair until his uncle performs some needed 'magic' for his nephew, restoring his faith, belief and familial adoration.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-- Of the four rooms downstairs in the northern Minnesota farmhouse, the one that might be called a living room is where Wayne and Eldon, their parents and great-uncle, and old Norwegian Nels spend their winters. There the family sits near the corner wood stove and listens, uninterrupting, as Uncle David tells stories--of the old country, of old times, of a semi-mythical lumberjack. Eldon, the younger son, begins his own story, in spring, when everything is soft. While he describes for readers the farm activities of each season and narrates memorable pranks and milestones of his boyhood, it is the palpable awareness of place and character that is unforgettable. Paulsen, with a simple intensity, brings to consciousness the texture, the smells, the light and shadows of each distinct season. He has penned a mood poem in prose. Uncle David's final story precipitates within the brothers a fuller understanding of personal identity and integrity. For those special readers who find delight in The Winter Room, it will become a part of their own identity and understanding. Teachers who seek to illuminate the use of ordinary English words with extraordinary descriptive power will find the introductory chapter, in particular, to be a godsend. --Katharine Bruner, Brown Middle School, Harrison, TN

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.30(d)
1170L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Gary Paulsen has written more than 175 books and some 200 articles and short stories for children and adults. He is considered one of the most important writers for young adults today. Three of his novels — HATCHET, DOGSONG, and THE WINTER ROOM — were Newbery Honor books, and his works frequently appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association.
Mr. Paulsen and his wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, an artist who has illustrated several of his books, divide their time between their home in New Mexico, a boat in the Pacific, and adventures in the wilderness.

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Winter Room 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
atvracer24 More than 1 year ago
The novel The winter room, by : Gary Paulsen the book is about a boy and his life on the farm in Minnesota .It is a pretty good book it starts out slow and it get better every chapter I think. It is an ok book but it t seems like it's meant for young adults. The genre is young adult, Fiction. Eldon is 11 years old and lives in Minnesota and tells about what they do each season and getting ready for the next, like planting and harvesting season and a lot of other thing Eldon talks about. Uncle David is mostly the main character toward the end because in winter in the evening everyone would gather in the winter room and Uncle David would tell stories or tales around the fire.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I vividly remember my sixth grade teacher reading this out loud to my class over a series of winter afternoons. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of my 5th grade students belong to the grade 5 book club. We just met on Friday to discuss the selection Almost all agreed they enjoyed the stories but had a difficult time with the first 40 or so pages. They didi not enjoy all of the description
weirdkid More than 1 year ago
I kind of liked this book but it is probably not one of Gary Paulsen's best books. It did not live up to my expectations. It didn't have much of a plot at all. Description and summary of main points The best parts of the story were mostly when Uncle David told his stories. But other than that the story was mostly a profile of Eldon's life. It goes through a year and a half of his life. But the whole year lead up to Uncle David's stories. Evaluation This book was pretty much a diary. But it was a ok book. the book doesn't get good until about ¾ of the way through. This book was disappointing because I was kind of expecting a book as good as Hachet. Conclusion My last thoughts on this book is that if you are a raging Gary Paulson reader get this book but if your not don't buy it. Your final review Finally this book is not a book it's a diary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Winter Room is about growing up in the northern woods of Minnesota. THis book I liked because I could somewhat relate to it. I also enjoyed the book because it makes you feel like you are in the family with all of the graphic scenes. Gary does not leave out a single detail. I wish that something more emotional or shocking could have happened in the story, but that's really not what Paulsen's writings are for, he writes about all of his experiences and what he has gone through or witnessed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
gary paulsen yet agian wrote a good and exiting book. the winter room was first read by me about a year ago at the library. i started to read it and then i could not put it down! i stayed at the library all day to finish that book. it is a wonderfull story about stories told to kids who make them into much more!
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
Eldon and his family live on a farm. In this book, he describes life on their farm and how it varies from season. He vividly describes the sights and sounds and smells of each season. When he gets to the restrictive winter, a time when everyone is, for the most part, indoors, he describes the farm life within the walls of his living room. Winter is the only time they really have the time to use this room,. Consequently, his family calls it the Winter Room. Within these four walls, they spend their winter, his father sculpting, his mother knitting, and Eldon and his brother watching the flames in the wood-burning stove, while his old uncle tells stories. This familiar pattern is repeated, until Uncle David tells a different story, a very important story. In this simple, little story, Paulsen vividly describes ordinary life on the farm with extraordinary descriptions and perception. The reader will feel as if she is on the farm, in the muddy spring dirt, in the heat of the summer's fertile fruitfulness, in the crisp and colorful autumn, and in the wood-burning heat of the living room during the cold and hostile winter. This story is both simple and profound.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read for anyone near the middle school age. The book starts off slow and gets better the farther you read. I must say however that I thought that the ending would be more interesting then it was. A better ending could have been written, but it wasn't that bad.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is REALLY good. It was so boring at the begining of the book but i forced myself to keep reading. I found out that i LOVED it!!!!!
This is the best book. I recomened this book to anyone who enjoys reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To me this book was very uninteresting, and had really no point or plot. Although, it does have a newberry metal, so obviosly somone likes it. I am a very good and advanced reader, so trust me when I say READ SOMETHING ELSE (see suggestions below). No dout Paulson is a great writer, but this was not one of his greater books.