Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Hobbs, Will.
New York : HarperCollins, 2002.
IL 5-8, RL 7.1
ISBN 0060298103

(5 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Reporter:  We're here with fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway, and he's on tour talking about the greatest adventure of his life.  Andy, tell us.  How did this adventure all start?

Andy:  Well, I was on the last day of a sea-kayaking trip in Southeast Alaska.  We were located a few miles away from where my father, an archaeologist, had died nine years ago.  I know I shouldn't have, but I left the group I was with while they were sleeping, and got into my kayak.  I didn't have a map, but I knew the coastline by heart anyway.  I just had to see Hidden Falls, where my father died.  I figured I'd be back before the group even missed me.

Reporter:  What went wrong?

Andy:  I was heading out into Chatham Strait, when I noticed how still everything was -- no wind in the trees, not a seabird, not even a gull.  No ravens crowing, or eagles screaming.  It was just too calm.  That should have cued me that something was wrong.  I was fighting the tide.  One second it was dead calm, the next second the wind was blowing violently and every ocean swell in the world was coming towards me.  I paddled for miles.  It took all my strength, I thought things were going to be okay, though I knew I'd never make it back to my group in time.  Suddenly, some sea lions knocked into my kayak!  The kayak overturned.  I kicked my way out of the kayak.  I had no breath, no energy left, and the water was FREEZING!

Reporter: What happened next?

Andy:  Luckily, I made my way to Admiralty Island.  My teeth chattered so hard I thought I was Frankenstein!  I tried everything I could do to get warm, from stripping off my clothes to jogging in place.  I finally found a giant spruce and speared and dug and hacked at it until I made a burrow in the underside of the rotten log.  I crawled in like an animal.  The shaking turned to shivering.  Finally, the shivering quit and the worrying began.

Reporter:  Andy, it sounds like we're only at the beginning of your adventure.  I understand that there was a wild man, too.  How can we find out more?

Andy:  Well, the full account of my adventure is in Wild Man Island.  Thanks to Will Hobbs, everyone can read it.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #2

Fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway is on a trip of a lifetime.  He is on a sea kayaking trip in Alaska.  He has dreamed of doing this for a long time.  He's picked this particular sea adventure because it will bring him close to Hidden Falls.  That's where his father died many years ago.  His father was an archaeologist doing research on primitive people.  He believed that there were people living in Alaska long before the landbridge developed that allowed people from Asia to cross over.  He believed that people used primitive boats to get to Alaska long before that.  He was attempting to get proof of that when he was killed in an accident.  And now Andy finds himself only a few miles from where his father died.  Should be try to sneak away from the group and go out on his own?  Andy knows that's dangerous.  But, it's so close.  What could possibly go wrong?

Booktalk #3

Andy could not help himself.  He was so close to where his father died.  He was within two miles, and he had to go.  There was a connection that was pulling too hard.  He knew that he could just slip away from his kayaking group early in the morning.  He thought he could easily be back before anyone woke up.  That is what he thought, but it was not what happened.  On his way back, he was caught in a storm and ended up across the strait on Admiralty Island.   At first, Andy was confident about being rescued right away.  When it became clear that this would not happen, he had to start finding food and shelter for himself.  This was when Andy encountered the dog and the Wild Man.  The Wild Man ran from him.  The dog was friendly and eventually led the fourteen-year-old to the Wild Manís cave.  While Andy was stealing food, the Wild Man suddenly appeared.  Was this enormous person going to help Andy or hurt him?  Would Andy find any evidence of who first settled Alaska to help back up his fatherís archeological theories?  Only time would tell!

Prepared by: Barbara Satkowski for South Carolina Junior Book Award 2005

Booktalk #4

An immense whale burst out of the sea. Its enormous white flippers flailed as it rose twisting into the air. For a second the whale seemed to hang suspended, water streaming of its sides. With a resounding splash, it fell on its back into the sea. Cheers went up from the group, "Humpback whales. This is why they were here." Andy Galloway had made a pilgrimage from Colorado to the Baranof Island. Here his archaeologist father had died nine years ago, trying to uncover the dark secrets of Alaska's past. Tonight, they would make camp two miles from Hidden Falls. For the last six days Andy had pictured himself leaving a token to his father at Hidden Falls. The only problem was that the tour leader would never allow Andy to go alone. Monica's rule was that the group never spits up. Never. Ever. That was the first thing that she had told was when we were back in Sitka.

When all seven kayaks hit the beach, the trip was all but over. Andy should have let it go. The next morning the floatplanes would be in to pick everyone up. By noon they would be back at Sitka and 24 hours later he would be home, but he knew that when he got home to Colorado, Baranof Island would seem as far away as the moon. As Andy was pitching his tent for the night, the humpbacks cruised back and forth along the beach. He realized that the tide was coming in, so he couldn't go, the currents would be against him the whole two miles. He started calculating and realized that at first light, around two thirty in the morning, they'd be in his favor. Andy kept telling himself that there was nothing to worry about. No one would know that he had gone. He would be back at 5:30 at the latest. Andy wasn't listening to his head, but to his heart. Andy didn't need a map, he had memorized every name and the shape of the coastline by heart. The water was like paddling through a lake, very calm, and no current at all.

He reached the beach at 3:31. He had to hurry before the ide changed. He bounded up the bedrock alongside the creek. He turned the corner and there was Hidden Falls making a spectacular plungs over the full height of the Cliffs. Two thirds of the way up there was a narrow ledge he must have crossed so he could stand next to the plummeting water. I could picture my Father starting across the ledge. One little slip. One Fatal Mistake. His world ended and Andy and his Mother's world changed forever. Andy could see his father falling. Falling right there at his feet. He started crying just like a baby. He hurt so much. He climbed beside the Falls, ,left his token and turned and looked at his watch. It was now 4:35 and he had stayed too long, the tide had turned. He would have to paddle against the current all the way back to the camp. The first mile would not be a problem; the second would just take longer. He felt a chill go down his spine; something was different. He couldn't put his finger on it. He rounded North Point, and the bay was eerily still.

There wasn't the slightest breath of air. No birds, no seagulls, no ravens, no eagles, it was too calm. He was almost back to camp and all he had to do was round a long string of granite boulders that stuck out in the strait. One second it was dead calm and the next the wind was blowing violently off the island. Rollers were right in front of Andy, and the waves were all coming towards him. He looked and the shore was farther away then when he had rounded the point. No matter that he was paddling as hard as he could, the land was slipping away, the wind was howling and Andy was in a world of trouble. Then he remembered the second thing that Monica had said, "The inside waters of these islands may look calm and protected from the airplane. Take my word for it, they are among the most dangerous in the world!"
Marilyn Bunker for The Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award

Booktalk #5                          

With flippers flailing and its body twisting, the whale erupted from the sea.  The small band of spellbound kayakers watched, wide-eyed, as the enormous animal appeared to hang in the air momentarily.  Water streamed from its sides.  Then, with a tremendous splash, the whale fell back into the ocean.
                         This was the moment the people on the week-long kayaking tour had been waiting for.  It was what lured them to this wild, beautiful, dangerous place called Alaska.   All of them, that is, except Brandon.  He had his own secret reason for making this trip, and he couldnít tell the others about it.
                         He thought it would be so easy.  He could slip away while the others were still sleeping and return before they even knew he was gone.  After all, he had been training for this trip in the wilds of Colorado, so it wasnít like he didnít know what he was doing.
                         Thatís what he thought, but itís not what happened.  He wasnít prepared for the vicious wind that approached so suddenly he never saw it coming.  He wasnít prepared for the two thousand pound sea lion that lifted his kayak out of the water and turned it over. And, he certainly was not prepared to be stranded on a strange island that seemed to be populated only with bears and wolves. Shoeless, without his kayak, without matches, without food, without anything but the clothes on his back, Jason was in serious trouble. To make matters worse, no one even knew where he was!
                         What secret made Jason sneak away from his group in the first place?  How would he survive?  Would he ever get off the island?  Youíll have to read Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs to find out.  (Melissa Mixon,,  West Hartsville Elementary School, Hartsville, SC)

SUBJECTS:     Wilderness survival -- Fiction.
                        Survival -- Fiction.
                        Archaeology -- Fiction.
                        Caves -- Fiction.
                        Newfoundland dog -- Fiction.
                        Dogs -- Fiction.
                        Kayaks and kayaking -- Fiction.
                        Admiralty Island (Alaska) -- Fiction.


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