cover image The Winter Room

The Winter Room

Gary Paulsen, G. Paulsen. Scholastic, $16.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05839-8

Following the events of one year, from plowing to harvest to butchering, this novel offers a compelling description of farming in a bygone time. The narrator, Elgon, is the younger son of a Scandinavian family in northern Minnesota. He begins in spring, a time of softening rather than awakening, and finishes with stories old Nels and Uncle David tell around the stove in winter (the story is set some time in the first half of this century). While work fills their time, the year is not without its lighter moments, like the time Elgon's brother Wayne, inspired by Zane Grey, decides to leap from the hayloft onto the back of one of the plowhorses. Elgon's steady, believable voice tells a story that will inevitably recall Laura Ingalls Wilder--but by way of Hemingway and Jim Harrison. Newbery Award-winner Paulsen never disappoints, and proves his talent again in this remarkably good tale. Ages 11-14. (Oct.)