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The Trap


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About the Author

John Smelcer's work has appeared in more than 300 magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, and he has written over 20 books. His novel The Great Death was published by Henry Holt in 2009.


Gr 6-9-Johnny Least-Weasel worries that his grandfather hasn't returned home from checking his trapline. The elderly Indian packed ample supplies onto his snowmobile, but has been out far too long in the plummeting temperatures of the Alaskan winter. Cultural pride and reluctance to disrespect an elder get in the way of search plans until Johnny's grandmother can wait no longer, and she sends him out to find her husband. Only readers know that Albert Least-Weasel has caught his leg in a trap, several feet away from his supplies, and is unable to free himself. Chapters alternate between Albert's dilemma and Johnny's failed attempts to raise concern among his uncles, creating a suspenseful page-turner in which the old man's survival becomes a race against time. Albert's wilderness skills are sharp and described in detail, such as fending off wolves with a spear made from a cedar branch and creating a rabbit snare from a shoelace. Excerpts from a folktale about a warrior named Blackskin appear at the beginning of each chapter, illustrating how present-day life for the Least-Weasel family is still the same, in many ways, as it was for their ancestors. A great addition to survival/adventure collections or Native American fiction.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"An unforgettable story. Brilliant!" --Ray Bradbury"In THE TRAP, John Smelcer takes his readers into a frozen world, and keeps us there with a gripping example of talented storytelling. Unforgettable." --Tony Hillerman"THE TRAP is a lovely story, beautifully told, the kind that makes you wade in and sink warmly into the cold, cold north of Alaska." --Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump"First novelist John Smelcer takes readers to the Alaskan Arctic Circle for an unforgettable survival tale." --The Horn Book

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