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Author: Joseph Bruchac

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007

Material: hard cover

Summary: The "bear walkers" are half-human and half-animal. They can change into a bear at will, but in order to become a bear walker, a boy must kill a family member. The legend is told in the very first part of the book. Then the story goes to Baron, a Native American boy living in the present time. He is teased in school because he is new, but his teacher understands him and tries to help him out. Baron's class goes on a field trip for a few days in a forest, but disaster strikes. The campsite becomes isolated because of a landslide, and telephone lines break. The campers are completely isolated from the rest of the world, and they hear a rumor of a man with a huge knife in the forest with them. The campers must survive and Baron has to protect his classmates. This short novel is based on a true Native American legend. This is a nice choice for high interest / low readability readers.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 9 & Up; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 5.5

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: The legend of the bear walker was interesting, and I liked how the whole book was centered on that. I liked the sarcastic humor that Baron had, and there definitely was plenty of action. I would recommend this for readers in their early teens.

Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Pros: This is a fascinating story that combines legend with realistic fiction. There is plenty of action to engage readers of all ages.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that is fun to read more than once. It would make a great read aloud (e.g., ghost story).


Educational Themes: Given the way the book is arranged, it is easy to explore and discuss Native American legend and what the reader thinks the story will become (before getting into part two).

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, fables and folklore, coming of age, family, multicultural, Native Americans, realistic fiction, young adult, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2012

Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found at the time of this review. See reader feedback at and ');


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