Way of the Wolf by Bear Grylls
Red Fox, 2009.
(Age: 8+) Useful things to know for your next day out : brown bears only attack if they are hungry, but black bears always attack. If you are starving and food is in short supply you can always resort to the half digested contents of a reindeer's stomach. These and other survival tips will delight young readers of Bear Grylls' Mission Survival series.
Beck and Tickaani are on their way to the Alaskan town of Anakat with Beck's Uncle to film a TV documentary about the traditional Anak way of life. At the same time they hope to draw peoples' attention to the oil giant Lumos Petroleum's plan to sink an oil well right in the middle of Anakat.
Unfortunately the whole expedition goes pear shaped when the plane crashes, the pilot is killed and Uncle Al seriously injured. The two boys have to trek across the Alaskan tundra in search of help. Facing up to the dangers of hidden crevasses, hungry bears, freezing rivers and the lurking threat of wolves, Beck and Tikaani trek through snow and ice in search of rescue.
It did irritate me that both Beck and Tikaani were 13 going on 28. They display no uncertainty, anxiety or bad temper - with the situation or each other. Both are entirely mature, focused and skilful. But that's just how I would like to have been at 13 - invincible. This is a punchy, action packed read. Grammar is sometimes clumsy, and descriptive passages have all the sophistication of GCSE coursework. It's obvious that Grylls would prefer to get on with the action, and that's fine because most kids would too. Way of the Wolf will never win any literary prizes, but it's a pacy read with plenty of boy appeal. Sheer escapism and great fun.