"Mayday! Landed on river. Engine out.
Floating toward the falls."
When the engine of their float plane fails during a water landing near the head of Canada's monumental Virginia Falls, what began as a sightseeing detour turns into a survival mission for two high-school students and their elderly companion.
With the brutal sub arctic winter about to fall like a hammer, Gabe Rogers, his boarding-school roommate, Raymond Providence, and Raymond's great-uncle, Johnny Raven, are trapped in a deadly wilderness. Braving icy rapids and desperately hunting for moose in their struggle to fend off starvation, all three travelers must rely on the others' knowledge and courage, or survival is out of the question.
Those insatiable fans of Hatchet are the likeliest audience for this winter survival tale, which weds its adventure-seeking thrills to education about Dene Indian culture. Fifteen-year-old Gabe, a Texan, enrolls in a boarding school in Canada's Northwest Territories to be near his father, whose love of the wilderness has become infectious. But Gabe gets more than he bargained for when an airplane accident leaves him and his roommate Raymond, a Dene, stranded near the fierce Nahanni River at the start of a long winter. Guided by their fellow survivor Johnny Raven, a Dene elder, Gabe and Raymond learn to hunt beavers, trap rabbits and make snowshoes and mittens from animal hide. More significantly, they learn respect for ancient Dene beliefs. When Raven dies of the cold, the two boys must struggle out of Deadmen Valley on their own. Predictably sentimental, Hobbs's (Beardance) fast-moving tale nonetheless delivers breathless action and an inspiring sense of Canada's vast landscape. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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April 11, 2004
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