cover image Woodsong


Gary Paulsen. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $17.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-02-770221-7

Paulsen, who has received Newbery Honors for three of his novels, is the best author of man-against-nature adventures writing today. Woodsong is an autobiographical celebration of his longtime love of dogsledding and sled dogs, a love that suffused the pages of his best novel, Dogsong. Woodsong is divided into two parts. In the first part, ``Running,'' Paulsen relates anecdote after anecdote about how his dogs and the frozen, wintery adventures he has had while sledding have taught him to be more human. The anecdotes run the gamut from hilarious to tragic, and truly sing with the wonder, violence and grace of the woods. The second part, ``Racing,'' the pellmell story of Paulsen's first Iditarod--a sled race across the Alaskan wilderness from downtown Anchorage to downtown Nome--burns with feverish intensity as one grueling day follows another. Like Paulsen's novels, Woodsong blends deep introspection with fast-paced action and succeeds admirably on both levels. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)