The year is 1868, and fourteen-year-old Alika and his younger brother, Sulu, are hunting for seals on an ice floe attached to their island in the Arctic. Suddenly the ice starts to shake, and they hear a loud crack--the terrible sound of the floe breaking free from land. The boys watch with horror as the dark expanse of water between the ice and the shore rapidly widens, and they start drifting south--away from their home, their family, and everything they've ever known.
Throughout their six-month-long journey down the Greenland Strait, the brothers face bitter cold, starvation, and most frightening of all, vicious polar bears. But they still remain hopeful that one day they'll be rescued.
This thrilling new adventure story from bestselling author Theodore Taylor is a moving testament to the bond between brothers--and to the strength of the human spirit.
Includes a map, a glossary of Inuit words and phrases, and an author's note..
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7 - Taylor jumps headlong into this page-turning tale of survival set in the Arctic in 1868. Inuit brothers Alika, 14, and Sulu, 10, are seal hunting with their family's dog team when the ice shelf they are on is rammed by an iceberg and detached from their island. As the floe begins drifting south, the boys free all but one of the dogs to swim to the mainland and run home. Thus warned, their father attempts to find them but is unsuccessful. In the meantime, Alika builds an iglu and hunts. The boys fight the frigid weather, are menaced by a bear, and try to keep their spirits up while wondering if they will ever return home. Six months pass before they see another human. Taylor unobtrusively works an enormous amount of historical and cultural material into the narrative, using the boys' conversations as a primary tool of conveyance. Alika's answers to his fretful brother's questions supply readers with information, and his skills in utilizing every bit of the slain seals display how assiduously the Inuit make use of their environment. Religious beliefs are reflected in Alika's explanations, thoughts, and actions. Animal lovers will enjoy the close relationship the boys have with their remaining dog. While perhaps not a classic like The Cay(HarperCollins, 1976), Ice Drift is nevertheless a masterful and detailed look into a culture unfamiliar to most Americans, a gripping adventure, and a moving depiction of brotherly love. - Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 4-7. This Arctic survival tale clearly springs from the imagination behind The Cay (1969) and Timothy of the Cay (1993), but in this case Taylor's oft-used shipwreck premise is recast in Inuit terms. While 14-year-old Alika and his younger brother, Sulu, are ice fishing, their floe breaks free and begins drifting southward. They know they are in dire straits: as their "ship of ice" reaches warmer climates, it will slowly melt away. Although Taylor occasionally shifts to the perspective of the boys' miserable parents, the six-month ordeal is primarily filtered through the eyes of resourceful Alika, who attentively cares for his frightened, less capable brother. At times the impulse to edify readers about Inuit culture seems too overt, and the natural science information that opens each chapter ("Newborn bergs can be 500 feet high") interrupts the adventure's momentum. Even so, fans of The Cay and novels by Jean Craighead George will enjoy both the intense survival detail and the gratifying conclusion. A glossary of Inuit terms concludes, followed by an endnote about historical "ice drift" survivors. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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