cover image Dogteam


Gary Paulsen, Ruth Wright Paulsen. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30550-1

The distinguished author of Dogsong and Hatchet somewhat strains for effect in this prose poem describing a night run with a team of dogs. Each stanza begins with a kind of chapter heading (``The dance,'' ``Into the night,'' etc.) that signals the oncoming sights and sounds amid the eerie glacial expanses. Gary Paulsen's rhythms mimic the panting, brisk pace of the running dogs, as in the description of the wolves they encounter: ``they run with us, pace the dogs, pace our hearts and our lives and then turn, turn away in the blue dark.'' The technique, however, is easily overdone: ``Away from camp, away from people, away from houses and light and noise and into only the one thing, into only winternight they fly away and away and away.'' Ruth Wright Paulsen's dogs look illuminated from within, rendered as they are in bright grays and yellows with detailed pen and ink, contrasting sharply with the soft, spare background. The landscape, on the other hand, remains impenetrable, no more likely to envelop the reader than is the highly personal text. Only in the crisp, poetic prose of an endnote does Paulsen--who has twice raced in the Iditarod--finally convey his exhilaration. All ages. (Oct.)