|Jungle of bones|
Author: Mikaelsen, Ben
When sullen teenager Dylan Barstow is caught joyriding in a stolen car he is sent to his ex-Marine uncle for the summer, but soon they are on the way to Papua New Guinea in search of a World War II fighter plane and Dylan discovers that defiance is not a survival skill when you are lost in a jungle.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 164357
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 62261
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/13)
School Library Journal (02/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2014 Dylan Barstow never expected to be wandering the jungle of Papua New Guinea the summer before eighth grade, but stealing a car has its consequences. After screwing up one time too many, Dylan is sent to finish the summer with his uncle, Todd, an ex-marine determined to teach his nephew respect and discipline. If that weren’t bad enough, Dylan’s uncle is forcing him to be part of a PNG search team looking for the wreckage of the Second Ace, a B-17 bomber that his grandfather flew in WWII. Feeling angry and misunderstood, Dylan strikes out into the dense jungle alone and quickly loses his way, realizing this time that his foolishness might cost him his life. Reverent in tone, Mikaelsen’s novel offers harrowing accounts of veterans’ war experiences that are brought home by Dylan’s struggles, both in the jungle and in everyday life. Only after confronting isolation, poisonous snakes, and crippling hunger does Dylan truly understand the value of freedom and his own capacity for change. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2014 Gr 5–8—Dylan Barstow steals a junkyard car for a joyride, landing him in jail, and exasperating his widowed mom. The seventh grader is sent off with Uncle Todd, who is assembling a search team to find Second Ace, Grandpa Henry's B-17 bomber that crashed in the jungles of Papua New Guinea (PNG) during World War II. Dylan's own journalist father died in Darfur, on a peacekeeping mission, and he has yet to come to terms with the loss. The protagonist begins reading Grandpa Henry's journal that chronicles the Japanese aerial attack on Second Ace, and learns that a trek to PNG promises malaria, headhunters, crocs, snakes, and rats-plus an airplane wreck with the probable bones of his grandfather's crewmen. Despite Todd's patience with his nephew, the boy flushes his malaria pills down the toilet and is antagonistic toward the search team. Dylan wanders too far away from camp, and his irresponsibility is the beginning of a survival tale rivaling Grandpa Henry's own. In scenes reminiscent of the his Touching Spirit Bear (HarperCollins, 2001), Mikaelsen calls up native spirits. In this case "Kanzi" appears as a young girl who guides Dylan to the plane wreckage and keep him safe, albeit suffering from malaria, leeches, and gangrene. Dylan's attitude adjustment is predictable, but not too maudlin, and is offset by realistic skepticism from Uncle Todd. The details of war and jungle dangers will make this a good addition to middle grade adventure survival collections.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2014 Dylan Barstow is one angry young man, unable to come to terms with the death of his journalist father in Darfur. Acting out has finally brought him to a crossroads—a stint in juvie or an extended stay with his ex-Marine uncle Todd in Oregon. Todd immediately puts Dylan on a training/discipline program involving running (Dylan’s not bad at it), respectful speech (Dylan’s mouthy and resistant), and malaria pills (Dylan flushes them down the toilet) in preparation for a trip to Papua New Guinea to locate the remains of a B-17 bomber that crashed in the jungle in World War II, leaving Dylan’s grandfather as the sole survivor. Of course, every lesson Dylan refuses to learn and precaution he refuses to take becomes another giant step toward disaster in the jungle when he’s separated from his uncle and left isolated and fighting for his life. Readers will readily catch the dual genres of this title—action/adventure story and cautionary tale. The former is more successful, straying off course only when a shape-shifting native rescues Dylan in an act of authorial mercy. The latter is problematic, though, since the moral of this story should demand Dylan’s demise, and Mikaelsen settles instead for a boatload of sermonizing, which even the most well-behaved, self-righteous of readers are likely to find tedious. Still, Dylan’s trainwreck of a life, topped off with a happy ending, may hit the ideal excitement level for a middle-grades quick pick. EB - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.