Books on the Blog: Books for those who Love Outdoor Adventure
By Linda Walker
Jean Craighead George books about outdoor adventure are familiar favorites. I just added The Trail by Meiko Hashimoto to that list.
After his parents’ divorce and a permanent move to live with his grandmother Toby sure needs a friend and he found one in Lucas. Toby and Lucas do everything together, build forts, battle with stick swords and watch tadpoles make the miraculous transformation into deep-throated bullfrogs. Their favorite summer activity is camping behind Toby’s grandmother’s house. Lucas is the risk-taker “chasing adventure wherever it went”. Toby is the follower who believes bad luck pursues him wherever he goes.
As another summer stretches before the boys they decide to change up their “off school” time and so they develop THE LIST, 10 things to do before starting middle school in the fall.
1. Go fishing
2. Eat a worm
3. Spend a whole day at the movies
4. Build a treehouse
5. Go blueberry picking
6. Make a raft and float it
7. Explore the abandoned house on Chimney Hill
8. Learn how to [pop wheelies on bikes
9. Jump off the rope swing at the quarry
10. Hike the Appalachian Trail from Velvet Rocks to Katahdin
With enthusiasm the boys complete each one on the list until #9 and then Toby is on his own to complete #10 to fulfill the promise the boys made at the beginning of the summer.
The story is one of physical obstacles, friendships lost and found and a boy’s determination to make his “own trail”.
I believe this read would complement a classroom’s selection of adventure books, provide thoughtful discussion and interesting writing activities.
Linda Walker was a teacher for 33 years with experience in several grade levels including teaching children with diverse learning abilities. She is a 2005 Fellow of the National Writing Project. For many summers Linda has facilitated writing specialty courses for the PAWLP Young Writers and Readers Program.