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Hatchet and the Superior Hiking Trail

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Our family had our first “wilderness” adventure together this summer. With all of our necessities on our backs, we packed in to a primitive campsite on the Superior Hiking Trail and spent the night away from all modern conveniences.  And we all came out alive.

The boys filtered water from the Split Rock River, gathered firewood off the trail and set up their own tent. They inhaled their mountain meal like it was the most delicious food they had tasted in their lives, and Owen said he liked river water better than regular water.

Aside from one child falling in the river, an almost bad log on a leg accident, the ongoing fight with killer mosquitoes and this mama losing her voice, the trip went pretty much without a hitch.

hatchet

It was during this vacation that I started reading Hatchet aloud to the boys. They loved it. It may have had something to do with the fact that they felt they could relate in a tiny way to the protagonist, Brian, who was on his own far from civilization. In fact, when Brian started a fire with the paper-like bark from a birch tree, the boys were like, “Hey, that’s what we used.” Brian was roughing it a bit more than we were, but I think it made them feel like bonafide outdoorsmen.

Basic premise of Hatchet: After a crash landing in a small plane somewhere in the Canadian wilderness, Brian Robeson is left alone to survive with nothing but the clothes on his back and the hatchet attached to his belt.

Here’s a list of what the boys thought were the best parts of the book (spoiler alert)

* Brian crash-landing the plane in a lake after the pilot died of a heart attack

* Seeing how Brian figured out how to catch fish and hunt birds

* When Brian figured out how to get the survival pack out of the plane 

I thought it was fun to “watch” Brian’s mental processes and to see how creative he was with what little he had. Kind of like a kid version of Castaway.

Overall, it’s an excellent story. And kudos to Gary Paulsen for writing a page-turner of a middle-years novel with basically one character. This one is highly recommended by the Harms boys and the Harms mama.

We’re looking forward to starting Brian’s Winter next.

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Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb – A Brief Review

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Disclaimer: I have not hopped on the zombie train. I’m easily freaked out and living-dead-people-who-want-to-eat-my-brains aren’t really my thing. I do, however, think the minecraft zombies are kind of cute in a weird sort of way.

That said, I was browsing amazon the other day looking for books for my boys. They are really into graphic novels (along with almost every other preteen in the world). I came across this graphic novel called Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb and couldn’t resist the $2.99 kindle price.

I like to read (or at least skim) books by new authors before I introduce them to my kids. I read this one cover to cover in a day. Hmmm…nothing like a little preteen zombie fiction for entertainment when you are relaxing by the pool. When I enjoy a book that is a million light years from a genre I would normally read, I know the author is a good writer. So kudos to MJA Ware for writing in such a way to keep this non-zombie gal turning pages.

Should your kids read it? Maybe. If you have a child who is easily scared, or who has a vivid imagination once the lights go out at night, you might want to skip this one. But if not, it is a good read. The zombies are pretty tame; even humorous. (I didn’t like the picture I got of the town mayor zombie, but Grandma zombies, zombies in work-out clothes, and flying chicken zombies made me giggle.) And the three kids who are stuck alone in a zombie infested city hunker down at Walmart and kill zombies with lemonade sprayed out of super-soakers. How fun is that?

The book has a few kind of disturbing parts. But hey, it’s a book about zombies. Is there anything about zombies that is not disturbing?

PS. I just realized if you go to MJA Ware’s  website, you can download the book for 99 cents.

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