The Haymeadow

ISBN: 0440409233
ISBN 13: 9780440409236
By: Gary Paulsen Ruth Wright Paulsen

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About this book

Fourteen-year-old John Barron is asked, like his father and grandfather before him, to spend the summer taking care of their sheep in the haymeadow. Six thousand sheep. John will be alone, except for two horses, four dogs, and all those sheep.John doesn't feel up to the task, but he hopes that if he can accomplish it, he will finally please his father. But John finds that the adage "things just happen to sheep" is true when the river floods, coyotes attack, and one dog's feet get cut. Through it all he must rely on his own resourcefulness, ingenuity, and talents to survive this summer in the haymeadow.

Reader's Thoughts

Randy Daugherty

John Barron is 14 and is given the job of tending the 6000 flock of sheep in the mountain hay meadow. John is worried how will he ever manage it, no one has told him what to do, he will be all alone and isolated but for the dogs, horses and of course all those sheep. Shortly after being on his own, one dog cuts his foot bad, his wagon is caught in a flash flood, the sheep are attacked by coyotes and then a bear and their is also a run in with a skunk and snake. Through it all John learns to handle each situation and as time progress's starts to relax and enjoy the mountains, the work and the solitude. This was a ya book and a short enjoyable read.The story of a young boy on his way to becoming a responsible young man.


i thought that the book was very interesting.gary pausen is my favorite author. all of my book reports have been on gary pausen's books. thanks gary pausen for having your books nationaly put into schools for students like me to read!

Kevin Beck

An interesting story. Paulsen really writes excellent juvenile fiction.

Essau Alli

This book is about a boy that becomes a responsible young adult. He is able to manage an entire farm. He learns how to become a farmer becasue he has a lot of help from others. He takes care of the animals very well because he knows how to do a good job.I can relate this book to the world because a lot of people have farms and they have to live off of what animals produce.They have animals to produce resources such as cows produce milk.I rate this book 2 stars because I thought i was kind of boring. I did not like how the plot was explained through out the book.


Gary Paulsen is the champion of survival coming-of -age novels. This time 14 year old motherless John, is charged by his father with herding a flock of 6000 sheep far up the Wyoming mountains, because the farmhand who usually summers with the sheep has cancer. For three months John battles snakes, coyotes, flash floods and even a black bear. He finds himself hesitating to kill severely wounded sheep with his gun. He also needs to come to terms with his family history, which is not quite like he has always believed.The beginning of the book was very slow, which might cause teens to loose interest before the meat of the story is reached. Once John arrives at the Haymeadow everything happens so fast, that he hardly has time to recover from one catastrophe or the next one happens. Suddenly things calm down, coyotes, bears, snakes and the like disappear into the mountains and John has a lovely month or so with the sheep, the dogs and the mountains. Somehow this quiet ending is not very convincing.

Jesus Granillo

The book the haymeadow was a intresting book to read i really liked it.

Sheriden Haase

This book is very good book. In the book The Haymeadow, the guys go up to the mountains to let the sheep graze in the basin. The terrain is rough and hard on the sheep and horses. There is a camper up in the basin, one old man lives in there with the herding dogs. They pull the camper up with the tractor. The guys have a family farm and work hard for a living. They go into town once a month for supplies and to have a good time.


Wow! i listened to this in my car on the long commute to school and work. Read by Richard Thomas, John Boy, this was quite a treat. I love Paulsen anyway, but this reading was phenomenal. It brought the rugged story of singular survival alive.

Jacob Lamirande

An amazing quick read. I have read this book before, but it has been about two years since then. All of the book seemed new to me. I like Gary Paulsen's books very much. I have also read his Hatchet series. I highly recommend this book. It is a good change of pace from all the "Classic Literature" we read in school.


I don't care that it is juvenile fiction... this is one of my favorite books of all time. Very good story. I have read it over and over again.


The kids and I loved reading this book. In fact, we took a day off from schoolwork and read the book cover to cover. 14 year old John learns not only about keeping his sheep, dogs, and horses safe, but also what he is capable of. The descriptions were wonderful.

Brandon Gerdes

i thought that this book was very interesting. at times it made me not want to put it down. a 14 year old boy John Barron was very brave, I thought. John had many twists and turns while tending to his sheep. the roles that nature and wild animals played were the main reason that made me want to keep reading this book. at any time he was not paying attention, he took the risk of losing his sheep to coyotes, a flooding river, and a hurt dog. Overall i thought this was a good book, although it was not the best book that I have read.


so far this book is really good I am only about 75% through it and is has been a classic gary paulsen book.


I listened to this little book with the kids. This is a quick 3.5 hour reading, but we listened while I was working on another project.I think many boys will love this story of a 14 year old boy called by his father to care for 6,000 sheep high up in the mountains with four dogs and two horses.It's an exciting adventure with a mountain lion, coyotes,a black bear, flash floods and crazy sheep.Lastly, it's a story about a father and son growing closer..finally.My kids say they love all the adventures of young John.


COMING TO TERMS WITH NATURE AND HIS HERITAGEJohn is only 14 the year his father expects him to spend the summer in a distant haymeadow in the Wyoming mountains--alone with 6,000 sheep, 4 border collies and 2 horses. Unsure if he is up to the demands of prolonged living without human companionship in valley pasturage, lacking both experience and a guidebook, the boy psyches himself up by pretending he would do things the way he imagines the Old Man--his great grandfather who founded the spread--would have done. Make him and his distant father proud: how best to honor his Barron heritage than by conquering the wilderness and loneliness with just his wits and his gut instinct! He wonders how he will spend the time during 3 months of long days. Somehow Nature keeps him very busy, as the dangers to sheep, dogs, horses and even himself arrive in waves, without warning. As in other Paulsen stories, this coming-of-age tale includes mental wrestling with ideals of beauty and man's role in nature. Also the protagonist grapples with erroneous conceptions of the family legend and seeming parental indifference. If he can survive what nature throws at him that summer, he will depart the haymeadow a different young man. Experiencing on-the-job training without a mentor (like learning to swim by being thrown abruptly into water), John Barron could write his own Shepherd's Manual after just one week. Despite minimal dialogue this adventure narrative grips the reader; Paulsen's deft and authoritative style make for fast reading--especially enjoyable for kids 12 - 16. (April 14, 2012. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)

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