cover image Voyage of the Frog

Voyage of the Frog

Gary Paulsen. Scholastic, $16.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05805-3

Paulsen's admirers will be satisfied with his latest survival story, this time set in the open sea. The author ranges through his accustomed territory, focusing on both the actual aspects of the voyage and the wisdom brought on by one boy's isolation in the elements. David Alspeth, 14, sails into the Pacific on the 22-foot Frog to scatter the ashes of the boat's owner, his beloved uncle Owen. A freak storm leaves David adrift for days in which he encounters sharks, a near-collision with a tanker, and the awful dragging loneliness of sitting in a becalmed boat. In that tedium, however, the boy finds a relationship with the boat and the elements themselves, and when the wind returns David discovers how far he has traveled (in more than miles). A unexpected, affirmative ending closes this middle-grade book with one boy's finally knowing where he's been, and where he might be going. Ages 11-13. (Mar.)