MMGM: Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick


Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick sends readers straight into the nightmare of a raging wildfire as 12-year-old Sam is trapped by explosive flames and deadly smoke that threaten to take his life. Can he survive?
Flames race toward Sam Castine's summer camp as evacuation buses are loading, but Sam runs back to get his phone. Suddenly, a flash of heat blasts him as pine trees explode. Now a wall of fire separates Sam from his bus, and there's only one thing to do: Run for his life. Run or die.

Lungs burning, Sam's only goal is to keep moving. Drought has made the forest a tinderbox, and Sam struggles to remember survival tricks he learned from his late father. Then, when he least expects it, he encounters Delphy, an older girl who is also lost. Their unlikely friendship grows as they join forces to find civilization.

The pace never slows, and eventually flames surround Sam and Delphy on all sides. A powerful bond is forged that can only grow out of true hardship-as two true friends beat all odds and outwit one of the deadliest fires ever.

At the end of the novel, information about wildfires and useful safety tips add to the reader's understanding of one of the US's most dangerous natural disasters.


I enjoy reading survival stories and this one hits rather close to home.  With wildfires rampaging across the country every year stories like this one become more relevant every year, as Philbrick talks about in his author's note at the end of the book.  This one focuses on the experiences of a 12-year-old boy named Same who is being evacuated from summer camp as the story opens.  When he goes back to his cabin for his cell phone, he gets cut off from the buses and is forced to flee in a different direction.  He finds himself lost in the words barely managing to escape the fire.  After discovering an old army Jeep at an abandoned lumber camp, Sam seems to have a chance to escape the fire, if he can figure out how to drive it and find a road to take him to the nearest town.  He doesn't expect to come across another survivor along the way.  I really enjoyed this story, mostly because I adore survival stories.  Not because of the tragedy, but because of the courage and ingenuity that the characters exercise to get out of the mess they are in.  While Sam driving the Jeep wasn't entirely believable, it wasn't entirely unbelievable either since his father had shown him how to drive one previously.  The excitement carries through the whole book with the two kids seemly escaping the fire only to find themselves in danger once again.  Middle grade readers who enjoy books like Hatchet by Gary Paulsen are likely to enjoy this one as well.


Popular posts from this blog


Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop

My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop