Wednesday, December 23, 2015

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: This Side of Wild by Gary Paulsen


The Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.

Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.

His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.


One thing I can say about Gary Paulsen is that he knows how to tell a good story.  And the man has definitely had some interesting experiences in his life.  This particular book focuses on a few of the experiences he has had with animals.  While the stories do get a bit rambling as he alternates between the time of the story and previous experiences, the stories themselves are fascinating.  Everything from getting bitten by a rattlesnake to his guard poodle who warned him about a bear, to a very intelligent dog are shared here.  I could have done without some of the language but any child reader who is fascinated by animals (and many of them are) should find something to ponder here as Paulsen shares his feelings about the intelligence and care of animals. Paulsen reminds the reader how much poorer the world would be without our animal companions.

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