ISBN: 0689852509
ISBN 13: 9780689852503
By: Gary Paulsen Ruth Wright Paulsen

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Adventure Currently Reading Fiction Memoir Non Fiction Nonfiction Survival To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

Gary Paulsen, Newbery Honor author of "Hatchet" and "Dogsong," is no stranger to adventure. He has flown off the back of a dogsled and down a frozen waterfall to near disaster, and waited for a giant bear to seal his fate with one slap of a claw. He has led a team of sled dogs toward the Alaskan Mountain Range in an Iditarod -- a 1,180-mile dogsled race -- hallucinating from lack of sleep, but determined to finish.Here, in vivid detail, Paulsen recounts several of the remarkable experiences that shaped his life and inspired his writing.

Reader's Thoughts


The Woodsong is a fantastic book its full of suspense action and show the true beauty of nature. it starts with Gary running is dog sled up a trap line when he stops and finds wolfs chasing and eating a dear that is still alive. then it goes on explain about dog sleds and how it can change your views on dogs then it goes to some stories that h append in the past on dog sledding and how improved and some adventures he and his sled team have been on like trying to threw a freak storm or trying to back away from a bear or trying to save a dear from a snare. then the book goes on about how his dream is to run the iditorod and how it is something he must do. then the book moves on to him and his team training for the race and then finely it moves to him getting tips from everybody whose run the race then when the race begins he explains the race in very vivid details as he progress through the race it explains how the race changes him. this is one of my all time favorite books from him

Carey Henderson

I love, love, LOVE this book! I wish I had waited a couple weeks before I wrote the blog on my top 10 favorite books because this memoir would've been on it! No idea how or when this quick read ended up in my bookcase, but I'm disappointed that I took so long to pick it up to read! Not a big book, less than 150 pages, I knocked it out in a couple hours on a snowed-in afternoon. WoodSong is one page-turning adventure! It's the true life, hard-to-believe-it's-actually-nonfiction memoirs of author Gary Paulsen (Hatchetf, Dogsong, The Winter Room, etc) & his life running a sled-dog team, training for the Iditarod. The first half of the book tells how the author first got interested in dog sledding; the trials, hit & misses, ignorance, mistakes that he made as his passion grew. This is one of the best novels I've ever read on wildlife conservation & the relationships between pets & their owners. The author wrote with such honesty & rawness over his own misunderstanding at nature & her unforgiving spirit. He also is openly candid at admitting his many failures, mistakes & ignorance at owning a team of intelligent, high-strung working dogs. The regret with which he wrote about at "ruining" some of these dogs over his lack of knowledge is something that, those of us who work & have worked in the animal industry, have seen first hand way to many times. I was not bored or lost interest on any page of this novel. I laughed outloud in several parts describing his mistakes & how the dogs corrected him, I bawled over the words he wrote on the death of his favorite sled dog, Storm & I found myself saying,"sooooo true" in agreement with him over the ways in which man destroys wildlife & nature. The second half of the novel was about his weeks running the Iditarod dog sled race held annually in Alaska. A grueling 1150mile course through unforgiving mountains, backcountry wilderness & heavy waterways. Mushers & dogs work as a team to finish in less than two weeks time. It was fascinating to read behind the scenes on what really happens, the non-televised versions; deaths, hallucinations, sleep & hunger depravity, injuries, & basic survival instincts kicking in for both man & animal. I read with captivity. Truly is a testimony on what the body goes through when pushed to the brink of competition, with others & yourself. If you're a nature-freak, survivalist, animal lover, dog obsessed, conservationist or adventure seeker you'll love this book! It's a super fast, easy read full of honest & raw, non-exaggerated writing. The author is a natural teacher who simplifies his passion for readers & conveys his love for wildlife & environmental conservation, as well as, animal rights. If I could rate this higher than 5 stars On Goodreads I would!


Woodsong by Gary Paulsen is one of my all-time favorite books for kids and students. I read it many times with my 6th and 7th grade students and created a unit around the Iditarod Dog Sled Race in Alaska. The book is a non-fiction biography of Gary Paulsen's true adventures while in the wilderness training dogs to run the Iditarod Dog Sled Race in Alaska. The book captures the reality of the adventure, and the trials and tribulations training for the race and the 1180-mile run with the dogs. As a dog-lover, I truly enjoyed this adventure. I mostly feel that this book is a launching book to introduce students to any number of activities, research, and further study of dog training, running the Iditarod, and the Alaskan wilderness.Wood Song is also a three-time John Newbery Award Winner.An activity that I would do with students is the Scholastic.com online writing workshop. It takes students through the writing process to create a persuasive essay about how the dogs are treated in the training and race process of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. It involves a research component prior to writing the essay. There's also a 10-question quiz that tests comprehension and it gives instant feedback.


The biography called Woodsong by Gary Paulsen is definitely a read worth while. I personally am a huge fan of dogs, thus this tale had an impact on me. Paulsen describes some of the conditions that he endured with his sled dogs. He also talks about the incredible bond between a person and their best friend, a dog. It is a true story, where Paulsen shares his experiences and survival he went through in Minnesota, as well as the Iditarod in Alaska. The part I liked most about Woodsong was the different feelings the reader can feel throughout it. For example, the feeling of losing a pet, or the funny things that animals will do. I like the countless stories he tells throughout the biography. For example, when the children from the Shageluk school made a pot of Moose chili for him. These stories made me want to keep reading and not put the book down! Overall, I feel this transitional book would be great for middle schoolers, in particular seventh or eighth grade. The book teaches readers various life lessons, while also containing higher content that may not be appropriate for younger grade levels. In a nutshell, this story tells readers how one man's ambition, determination and help from his dogs all fused together in one is a perfect combination for braving nature and living to tell people about it.


people really do get thriugh hard times


If you liked Hatchet...(or maybe just THINK you liked it, because you haven't read it since junior high, and you remember that a hatchet featured prominently, and being stranded in the wilderness, but not much beyond that) then you'll love Gary Paulsen's TRUE LIFE adventures in the woods of Minnesota and Alaska! That's how I felt this book was being marketed, but as it turns out, I really did like the grown-up, non-fiction version of Paulsen's writing better. He occasionally waxed poetic (with odd, clipped sentences, and repeated words), but it wasn't often enough to cause great annoyance, and the anecdotes he shared of living life on the edge of the frozen North more than made up for the style quirks. This was a short book, and a quick read (just one day for me) and despite not loving snow, cold, dogs, or wild animals that much, I found this book fascinating. The last third is an account of Paulsen's running of the Iditarod and as I read, I imagined what it would be like to meet Paulsen at a cocktail party or something and be able to corner him and pepper him with questions about "What was that LIKE?!" and maybe monopolizing him for an hour or so as he recounted various harrowing experiences for you. It was like THAT, only from the comfort of my own couch, and without being an obnoxious stranger. So, everything good about reading memoirs.Anyway, I recommend this for a quick read and a fascinating look at a way of life that feels so antiquated and foreign it's hard to believe there are really people who live that way.

Sarah Dussault

I stumbled across this book and could not be more happy. Recently I have become a huge fan of the Yukon Quest. Mr. Paulsen's explanation of the unwavering relationship between a musher and his team is remarkable. If you follow races like The Quest or 'The Race' you hear bits and pieces of encounters with moose or the visions delirium brings. Woodsong, brings it together in a journey of personal awakening.


In the book Woodsong, the author Gary Paulson is writing about his adventure during the Iditarod with his sled dogs. The story focuses mainly on the hardships he faces during the race. The other main point was what he learned from his dogs. He learned that he shouldn’t trap or hunt living animals anymore because they deserve to live and since his dogs never hurt humans, so why would he want to kill the animals? He wanted to get to know the wilderness better so he decides to run the Iditarod. There is a very unique way the author writes the book. He uses flashbacks to explain an event happening during the dog sled race. “In the summer the dogs live in the kennel area”(22). This quote is an example because it’s a flashback to the summer before the race where Gary Paulson saw his dog Columbia mess with Olaf with a bone. “We were running along the top edge of a long ridge, we rose higher and higher” (67). This quote is an example of Gary Paulson writing about his Iditarod experience. His type of writing helps us understand a topic some people wouldn’t get because of it not being a very popular sporting event. There weren’t very many parts I could understand but when I could make a connection like these I was able to understand that part of the book. “The wolves. There was a pack of brush wolves and they began chasing her” (34). I made this connection to the movie The Gray, where there is a party of oil-men whose plane crashes and they have to find a way to escape a pack of hungry wolves. This was a very good example of nature because just like in the book, the wolves have to eat so they go after anything living. “But some dogs, and Strom was one of them, pull hard all the time, even when they are tired” (15). I made this connection to my dad’s husky when he lived in Alaska. His dog was a very hard working and loyal dog, the dog never stopped working. These connections help me understand and enjoy the book more than I would have if I didn’t make these connections. In conclusion, if you read this book, it’s always good to have background knowledge on the Iditarod. This book is a great read for adventure seekers looking for a novel. I would give this book a 2.5 out of 5 because of its topic and unique way of writing.


This book was amazing! It tells about the relationships of most people and pets, especially dogs. This also tells about how author Gary paulsen has competed in the iditarod and all the things he went through about his dogs and his experience with iditarod, amazing! A must read for everyone of all ages!


“In Tune with the Team and the Arctic”Paulsen’s choice of the word SONG—see WOODSONG and DOGSONG—goes beyond the expected audible and musical implications, as it embodies man and animals’ in-touch-ness with both static and living aspects of the natural world. Less a cohesive story with a clearly defined plot and anticipated character development book proves reveals the author’s reflective observations of his own maturation—as a musher and as a human being. With gritty honesty Paulsen chronicles the painful and often humiliating earning curve which he experienced thanks to his faithful team of huskies over deccdes in the Minnesota wilderness. Part I consists of the author’s memories –fond and painful—of his cumulative years with dozens of dogs, canine wisdom which he learned about their amazing personalities, about dog sledding and about Life itself. Part 2 relates in excruciating detail his actual 17-day ordeal (trial by Snow and ice) running the famous arctic marathon: the Iditarod. Just to finish this endurance trail is a victory of human and animal nature, extreme weather conditions and brutal terrain. (March 28, 2011. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)


I loved this book! I just found it with some of my husband's old childhood things. It is written for a younger audience, but I'd recommend it to readers of any age.I would love to meet this author. Gary Paulsen is a wonderful storyteller, and he seems like such an interesting person. He has such a fun sense of humor and a way with animals. He knows their thoughts and motivations. I cannot imagine putting myself into the dangerously freezing cold weather and harsh wild that Mr. Paulsen does so willingly, along with his sled dogs. For him, the time spent outdoors running with his dogs is worth suffering frostbite, debilitating illness, and even hallucinations. He understands his dogs and they understand him. I am grateful to the author for sharing his observations, insights, and adventures.*I recently reread this book, and was reminded of how gruesome some of the descriptions are. Paulsen gives very detailed descriptions of witnessing wolves attacking a deer or a squirrel killing a chipmunk. I did not enjoy these sections, but they are short. Just warning you. :o)

Justin Meyer

The book "Woodsong" was about Gary going dogsled racing. In the first half of the book Gary tells about some experiences he had out practicing for the Iditarod. In one of them he said that when they were going his dogs stopped to look at something. To his surprise he got off to look to and what he saw was a deer standing up frozen solid. In another one he was going by a lake when all of a sudden a deer jumped over his dogs and chasing it onto the ice were a pack of coyotes. The deer fell through the ice and right when it got out of the water the coyotes killed it. In the second half of the book Gary talked about his experience of the Iditarod. Towards the end he was having so fun he didn't know if he should turn back and start over. The setting of this book is in Alaska. The main conflict is that when he is going down the trail if he will ever make it out alive. Gary doesn't want to push his dogs to hard but he wants to push them enough to try and finish it. When he knows the finish line is right over a hill, he was having so much fun he thought about turning back and doing it over again. In the end Gary ended up finishing the race and was hoping to do it again some other time.I rate this book 3 out of 5 because it was a good book but could have used a little more conflict. I recommend this book to anyone who likes nonfiction stories or dogsled racing because this has a bunch of both. It was a book I enjoyed reading and hope other people will to.


In the book Woodsong the main character and author Gary Paulsen goes on an exciting adventure through trapping as well as his journey in the Iditarod. Gary goes through many challenges and problems on his journey to the finish. The most interesting and distinguished character is Gary Paulsen’s top dog, Storm. Dogs are known to teach people; Gary Paulsen is a strong believer in this and thinks Storm has taught him a lot about the woods and life. “It is always possible to learn from dogs and in fact the longer I am with them the more I understand how little I know. But there was this one dog that taught me the most, Just one dog. Storm. ” (70) Storm was a very wise dog and very smart. “He could look once at my shoulder and tell how I was feeling, tell how far we were to run, how fast we had to run – knew it all.”(75) One day in the spring I went out to watch my dogs enjoy the beautiful weather and lay back in a chair basking in the sun. I woke up to a terrible noise the sound of my dog eating freshly born rabbits. I chased my dog all around the yard hoping to stop him. When I finally gave up there was nothing I could do accept watch just, like how Gary Paulsen could do nothing but watch wolves eat a doe. Devoured its body and left nothing but scraps. “The wolves held the doe by the nose, held her head down to the ice and the other wolves took turns tearing at her rear end, pulling and jerking and tearing, until they were inside of her pulling out parts of her and all this time she was still on her feet, still alive.”(6) “I had hunted and trapped and had been in the army and seen and done some awful things, but I was still not mentally prepared for this.” (6) Overall I would give this book a nine out of ten. This book is great it because it describes what Gary Paulsen had to go through and what life would be like to live in Alaska. It shows what life for animals was like and what strange things he came upon in his journey.


I almost forgot what a great writer Gary Paulsen is. This book refreshed my memory. He definitely has the gift of telling a story. His special connection to nature and animals is easily conveyed to the reader. His ability to keep the reader wanting to turn the page is uncanny. This book is really somewhat of an autobiography. It mostly revolves around his beginning involvement with dogs and dog sledding which eventually leads to his doing the Iditarod. Although until over half way through it, it mostly just contains journal-like entries about his random training runs with the dogs, the last large portion of it is strictly devoted, one chapter per day, to his sixteen day Iditarod epic. In this way, its organization is a little awkward. Yet, Paulsen, with his gift of story-telling, makes it read like a story with a connecting rhythm to its end. Consequently, I am looking forward to reading other Paulsen novels.


Woodsong is an adventure story by Gary Paulsen and is in close proximity to his award winner as hatchet. In this book, the scene is set along the lines of Gary Paulson flying off the back of a dogsled and down a frozen waterfall coming close to killing himself. I would recommend it to 13 years old kids and above.One part that really struck me is that important decisions had to be made. Decisions such as letting a giant bear live or die for not killing him. This really struck me because those decisions are the ones that are crux for his survival. Another part that really struck me is that he also has led a team of sled dogs towards the 1180 mile dogsled race across the Alaskan Mountain range. During this he suffers from hallucinations from lack of sleep but is determined to finish in one piece. He looses dogs which took him on his adventure and has a strong bond to which adds on to the emotion of the story. He mentions that running the dogs is his life and would not know, how he would live without them.The final reason why this book struck me is that this book is not a made up story however it does consist of things that Gary Paulson has had experience in and combined it to make a great story. I felt as though these experiences made the story more satisfying to read.I think in this book his describing of what is happening really makes me feel like I experienced what Gary Paulson felt when writing such as his feelings an example would be when the bear came along. Soon the dogs teach Gary things and this really makes the saying a dog is a man’s best friend come true. I think this book is fun and an unusual read, but prepare to feel some emotion to the dogs when they die. I have one complaint with this book though I think it was too short. I gave this book a four out of five stars because I think hatchet was a better story but this book included more detail and made the characters really pop out and be realistic and down to earth. I recommend this book to people above 13 years as it is an excellent read in my opinion.

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