Title: The Skeleton Tree
Author: Iain Lawrence
Recommended for: Grades 4 -6
Call Number/Link: J Fiction Lawrence, I (We don’t actually own though)
Synopsis: Less than 48 hours after twelve-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive.
Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn’t expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue.
My Review: This is one of those quirky books that I don’t know how I actually feel about it. It’s about two boys who end up ship wrecked on an island alone. It’s their journey of dealing with grief, settling into a relationship/getting to know each other, & learning to survive on their own.
It’s kind of a slow-moving book though, and I’m not sure how many in the intended audience would actually stick with it. Both of the main characters are fine, but I never really got attached to them. (In fact, the character I got most attached to was a freaking crow. Seriously. A crow.) There’s a bit of a twist, which adult readers will pick up on right away, but the kids may miss it. If you have a kid who is more character-driven than action-based, I’d consider giving them this one.