Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Voyage of the Frog by Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen, the three-time Newbery Honor book author, takes his readers on the adventure of their life! 

David Alspeth, a fourteen-year old kid, just suffered a tramatic loss.  Owen, his uncle, died from cancer.  Right before dieing Owen asked to see David alone.  His parents had already had their alone time with Owen, and now it was David's turn.  Thinking he only had two weeks of life left, Owen made a last request to David.  It was to spread his ashes in the ocean someplace where you could no longer see land.  So, David decides that he will do everything in his power to see that Owen's wish gets fulfilled. On May 15th, Owen died. 

By himself, David takes Owen's sailboat, the Frog, out into the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of California.

After a time at sea, the swells began to look strange.  David had never seem anything like it.  What was happening?  He discovered the answer quick enough, wind!  "A wild wind- a wind stronger thatn anything he'd ever seen or heard of, a wind without warning out of the northeast."  David tried everything in his power to get the sail down, get the hatch open, but the wind kept picking up and thrashing him about.  The full force of the wind hit the Frog like a giant sledgehammer.  The rail slammed across the boat like a sweeping saber and caught David full on in the center of the top of his head. 

When David realized he wasn't dead, although he felt like it, he saw that the boat was in shambles.  David and the Frog must have traveled hundreds of miles off the coast, and now he was stranded.  Food everywhere, fear the Frog was going to sink, David was scared.  At one time he even tried to was down a tanker, but noone saw him.  He felt defeated.  Days passed.

David did not give up.  He made a makeshift sail and finally wind began to pick up. 

David was finally found about halfway down the coast of Baja.  Maybe two hundread and fifty miles south of San Diego.  Captain Henry Pierce asked David to come aboard his vessel.  But, David wandered about the Frog.  Could they tow it?  The captain told him it would never work, but David did not want to leave the thing that he became apart of....the Frog.  David decided he would instead sail 'er home himself.

Gary Paulsen had me on the edge of my seat.  Easy read because you couldn't put it down!

Publishers Weekly: "Three-time Newbery Honor author Paulsen provides another action-filled survival story, as a storm strands 14-year-old David when he attempts to fulfill his late uncle's last wish by piloting his sailboat. Ages 10-14."
School Library Journal: "Paulsen's spare prose offers an affecting blend of the boy's inner thoughts and keen observations of the power of nature to destroy and to heal."
I agree!

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