Wild River
Wild River
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Annotation: Considered lazy and unathletic, twelve-year-old Ryan discovers a heroic side of himself when a kayak trip with his older brother goes horribly awry.
Catalog Number: #5517997
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition Date: 2013
Pages: 120 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-375-84624-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-375-84624-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2008024921
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
While on a camping trip, Ryan and his older brother Tanner set off in a kayak down a remote canyon river. Soon things go seriously wrong, though, as Tanner leads them recklessly down a water chute and is knocked unconscious. Ryan has to drag Tanner out of the river and then figure out a way to get help. After failing to climb the steep canyon walls, he makes his way down the river on an air mattress, encountering a bear along the way, before he finds a road, stops a truck, and calls for help. The compelling first-person narration sets this apart from other adventure stories. The reader is brought inside Ryan's thoughts as he struggles to overcome obstacles and also wrestles with his own lack of confidence. With sharp pacing, short sentences, and unintimidating length, this is a strong, accessible choice for younger readers.
Horn Book
Ryan's brother, Tanner, convinces him to go on a kayaking and camping trip. After Tanner is injured, Ryan gets caught in a fight for survival that will take every ounce of resourcefulness he can muster--not easy for a boy who spends most of his time playing video games. Once this slow-to-begin novel gets going, readers will keep turning pages.
Kirkus Reviews
Ryan would be the first to tell you that he didn't want to go at all. When teenage Tanner convinces Ryan, his video-gameobsessed 12-year-old brother, to join him on an exciting camping trip, neither of them has a clue what's in store. A fun kayak down the Boulder River starts out well enough, but when an unexpected accident leads to Tanner's being injured, it's up to Ryan to get help. The problem? They're stuck at the bottom of a ravine with no way of contacting the outside world. Racing against the clock, Ryan must fail repeatedly before hitting on the right solution that will save his brother's life. Coming in at a svelte 128 pages, Petersen's novel packs a wallop. The thrills are nail-biting and the tension is ratcheted up to an enjoyable high. For kids who have only just graduated into chapter books, this title acts as an excellent starter survival tale. Particularly recommended for those readers not quite ready for Gary Paulsen's The River (1991) but still eager for realistic thrills. (Fiction. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 47 Twelve-year-old Ryan goes kayaking and fishing on a California river with his older brother, Tanner, and his gripping adventures will pull even reluctant readers into his first-person narrative. As the boys shoot down rocky rapids, a jagged log in the chute slices into their kayak, toppling them into freezing water, injuring Tanner and leaving him unconscious. Using what he learned from his video games, Ryan is able to stay calm and survive some harrowing situations, and ultimately save both of their lives. Foreshadowing keeps the suspense rolling for careful readers. Safe back home, Ryan refuses to tell anyone except Tanner about his heroic deeds and flips on his favorite video game for solace instead of sharing his feelings with his family. The relationship between the brothers is refreshing; they clearly like each other, and Tanner is in touch with Ryan's needs and accepts him unconditionally. Some readers might wish to see some growth in Ryan as a result of his experiences, but it's more likely that he is having difficulty dealing with what happened and opening up about the events will come later. In theme, this is reminiscent of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (1987) and Will Hobbs's Downriver (1991, both S & S). James K. Irwin, Sandy Library, UT
Word Count: 18,580
Reading Level: 3.4
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.4 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 130575 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 570L

When twelve-year-old Ryan reluctantly agrees to join his experienced older brother, Tanner, on a camping trip, he never dreams that it will turn into the most frightening day of his life.

Ryan admits he's no good at sports or outdoor stuff. He'd much rather be playing video games. But Tanner assures him it will be an easy trip. They'll kayak down the Boulder River, fish, and toast marshmallows at night.

When they set out, the river is higher than usual, and the kayaking is scary. Tanner keeps saying there's no reason to worry. But when he's badly hurt in a kayaking accident, Ryan is afraid he's not up to the challenge of saving his brother's life. The only danger Ryan has confronted has been in his video games. What good are those games now, when he's facing a real-life battle?

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