The Trap

by John Smelcer

Albert Least-Weasel has been running traplines for decades, and he refuses to let... read more

Albert Least-Weasel has been running traplines for decades, and he refuses to let age stop him. He maintains a stubborn insistence on independence, which is why he is all alone in the frigid Alaskan wilderness when one of his own traps springs and catches his leg in its grip. Albert’s grandson, Johnny Least-Weasel, hopes to go to college someday. In the meantime, he spends his time helping out his grandparents, finishing his high school correspondence courses, and working at the local store. John Smelcer’s spare and lyrical novel moves back and forth between Albert and Johnny. The older man draws on his knowledge, wits, and patience as he struggles to survive over the course of several days, knowing that eventually someone will come looking for him. The teenager grows more and more tense and worried, wanting to respect his grandfather’s independence and trust that he is staying in a cabin near the traplines, but growing ever more fearful that something has happened to the beloved man who has been his principal teacher and guide for most of his life. Set in an Athabaskan community where tradition and pride face constant pressures and challenges from both internal and outside influences, Smelcer’s compelling story illuminates how the bonds of love and the ways of nature are the source of great pain, and also beauty. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

show less