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August 12, 2008

The Iceberg Hermit

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The Iceberg Hermit

Author: Arthur Roth          

Page Length: 220

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Realistic Fiction   

PLOT SUMMARY: Allan Gordon is making his first voyage on a whaling ship expedition in the middle 1700’s when the boat hits an iceberg and he is thrown from his lookout point onto the iceberg.  He is knocked unconscious and when he regains consciousness he realizes he is the lone survivor of the “Anne Forbes”.

Allan spent the first night with little sleep.  The next morning, the fog had lifted and Allan discovered the remains of the shipwrecked boat, upside down frozen in the ice.  He was able to make his way to the ship and get into the captain’s quarters where he found clothing, blankets, tools, and other survival supplies. He thought he might have enough to survive for two weeks. 

With each passing day, Allan realizes there is little hope for survival, but he has a deep desire to live.  He longs to return home to his mother, sisters, and girlfriend, Nancy.  Each day he remembers that he promised his mother he would read his Bible and pray, and he does just that.

The days turn into weeks and Allan finds ways to survive.  He retrieves whale blubber and dried meats from the ship, along with biscuits.  He has a fight with a polar bear, but he is the survivor.  However, the bear had a cub, and Allan soon adopts the baby bear and calls her, Nancy.

Allan survives two winters before coming in contact with some Eskimo hunters.  He convinces them he will not harm them and that Nancy is safe. Allan makes a life for several years with the Eskimos before he finally finds a way back to his home in Aberdeen, Scotland.

REVIEW:  This is an interesting tale that is based on a true story.  There are so many extraordinary events that happen which Allan survives, that many people did not believe his story upon his return.  True or not, the book is full of adventure and excitement.  It has good information about life in the Arctic and is well written.

I think boys are girls would enjoy this book.  It is a good book to read for fun and to gain knowledge of life in the Arctic 300 years ago.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Sequence of Events, Main Idea and Supporting Details, Conclusions, Generalizations, Predictions, Conflict, Compare/Contrast, and Setting


MOVIE CONNECTIONS: “Into the Wild” (2007)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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