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  • My Heart Fills with Happiness
  • Wolf Island

By author: Dayle Campbell Gaetz
Selling Points: "Wilderness survival, lonliness, environment"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Sep/01/2007
Lexile Level: 630L
Fry Reading Level: 3.6
Pages: 112
Fiction Ages 10-14
Price:  $9.95
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I felt light and free, like an escaped prisoner. Tonight, for the first time ever, I would sleep up here on my own. Just me and the wilderness. I wanted to bellow out in triumph, like a big old bull elk. But I had almost reached my cabin, so I loped along on silent feet. Like a creature of the wild, I approached my lair in silence. I slowed down, advanced cautiously, stayed on high alert to keep my territory safe from predators.
I raised my head, sniffed the air and knew something was wrong. Mixed with the musty odor of damp earth and the Christmas-tree scent of firs, was a trace of wood smoke. A chill spread up the back of my neck. Here in the forest, smoke could come from only one place. My cabin.

Fourteen-year-old Matt has only one goal in life: to become a hermit. He has no use for school, but he loves the solitude of the forest. When he hikes up to the cabin he built for himself, he discovers a mysterious stranger named Forrest has moved in. At first Matt doesn't connect Forrest's appearance with the rash of local robberies. Forrest seems to be the perfect hermit, and he teaches Matt the skills he needs to achieve his goal, including how to hunt with a crossbow. But when Forrest tries to kill an endangered Roosevelt elk, Matt questions the ethics of his new friend. When Matt discovers a stolen rifle in his cabin, he finds himself trapped in a dangerous situation.
CM Magazine - January 1, 2008
"Crossbow is half nature survival story, half modern realistic suspense thriller, and an all-around good book."


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Middle-school fiction
for reluctant readers

Key Features:
Contemporary stories
Compelling characters
Ideal for Lit Circles
Ideal for Independent Reading

Teaching Resources:
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Lexile levels

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