Cover image for Wintering
Durbin, William, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 191 pages map, ; 22 cm
In 1801, fourteen-year-old Pierre returns to work for the North West Fur Company and makes the long and difficult journey to a winter camp, where he learns from both the other voyageurs and from the Ojibwa Indians whose land they share.
General Note:
A sequel to: The broken blade.
Reading Level:
880 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.1 7.0 31568.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 11 Quiz: 21734 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



By pairing essays with other kinds of compositions -- a TV show, a news report, a photo, an ad, a cast-off grocery list -- Convergences asks students to respond to all kinds of visual and verbal texts. Its organization into six broad thematic chapters -- each of which is broken out into six clusters -- presents the materials in a way that is compelling and teachable. Convergences urges students to ask: Why did that author write that essay? Where was it published, and for what audience? What is the message of that poem? Why is that image on that Web site? Who thinks that joke is funny? How is that ad getting me to buy things I don't need? And, most importantly -- how do I make meaning of it all? With its full-color design, varied themes and texts, and helpful reading and writing support, Convergences inspires students to read the world in new ways -- and to respond thoughtfully in their own compositions.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. At the end of The Broken Blade (1997), young Pierre LaPage returned home after his first grueling trip as a voyageur, a member of a group of men carrying furs by canoe and on foot in the Great Lakes area. In this companion novel, he goes back for more, signing on this time to stay all winter. On his journey he is accompanied by a brawling, raucous crew whose testosterone flows freely. Among the men are Louie, as green and physically weak as Pierre used to be; Beloit, a revolting bully; and Commander McHenry, whose bookish habits belie his courage and determination. Durbin bases his story on journals and diaries from the period, modeling McHenry after Canadian explorer Samuel Hearne. The research gives the novel an authentic feel but doesn't overshadow the unfolding story of Pierre's growth and maturation. Pierre, much tougher physically and mentally than he was on his first trip, grieves over the unexpected deaths of the Ojibwa girl Kennewah and her family, and is both embarrassed and thrilled to be singled out by McHenry for conversation on poetry and literature. Durbin does a particularly fine job of making Pierre sympathetic without making him self-centered, and showing him as one of a group of individuals, each with quirks and a personal history. With adventure, surprises, humor, and a touching conclusion, this historical novel will be gobbled up by Gary Paulsen fans. --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9‘Fourteen-year-old Pierre La Page, who was first introduced in The Broken Blade (Delacorte, 1997), works for the North West Company as a voyageur, a member of an expedition that transports goods and furs by canoe. Here, he travels far into the French Canadian wilderness with the rest of the crew, helps to build a trading post, and spends the winter trapping. His journey is one of endurance and personal growth, as he discovers much about himself, his fellow voyageurs, and the lifestyle and customs of the Ojibwe people. While the story gets off to a slow start, characters become more clearly drawn as events unfold and touches of suspense and humor are added to the plot. Readers are introduced to Beloît, a seasoned voyageur who can be arrogant and spiteful toward the men but kind to an orphaned bear cub and loving toward an Ojibwe woman he meets. Pierre is realistically depicted as a young man coming of age, who looks to the captain of the expedition as a father figure. Historical and cultural information is nicely woven into the plot, and the story never loses momentum. The scenes with Pierre and the son of the Ojibwe chief tracking in the forest are nicely written, juxtaposing the beauty and quiet of the natural world with the artificial world created by the crew members during their winter stay. A solid read that won't disappoint fans of the first book.‘Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Bear for Breakfast JULY 1801 "Breakfast off the port bow," Beloit called out.      Pierre La Page was half asleep, and the shout made him lurch forward. He rested his paddle blade on the gunwale of his canoe and looked up.      "Paddle, you fools," the bowman, Jean Beloit, yelled.      Suddenly the crewmen in all four canoes were pulling hard for the near shore.      Pierre was sick of paddling. The four-canoe brigade had started up the Pigeon River at four a.m., when the sun was only a faint glimmer in the pines, yet they still hadn't stopped for breakfast. This was Pierre's second summer with the North West Company, and though he was becoming a skilled canoeman, he was travel weary this morning. He had paddled and portaged more than twelve hundred miles since he'd left Montreal last May.      It was July now, and only two days ago his brigade had carried its trade goods over the legendary nine-mile trail at Grand Portage. He'd made four trips without complaint, carrying 180 pounds of goods up the trail and returning with an equal weight of bundled furs each time. It had nearly done him in. Pierre could understand why the old-timers joked that the North West Company used voyageurs to portage the freight because they couldn't risk laming mules or horses.      "I said paddle," Beloit yelled, pulling out his North West gun and aiming it over the bow.      Pierre squinted into the harsh light. Beloit was the grossest man Pierre had ever seen. Though most of the voyageurs took pride in their appearance, tying long fringed sashes around their waists and carefully perching their red woolen caps on their heads, Beloit was a picture of neglect. When he wasn't bare chested, his soiled shirt hung loosely over his hips. His sweat-stained cap often sagged down over his ears, and he refused to wear socks or deerskin leggings like the rest of the crew. Beloit's hair was long and greasy, and his perpetually bloodshot eyes were small and black. One of his front teeth was missing, and he always wore an evil grin made worse because the left half of his nose had been bitten off in a fight years ago, leaving only a ragged hole.      A moment later Beloit said, "Ship your oars." They held their paddles still, and the canoes went into a silent glide.      When Pierre saw the bear, he felt sorry for it. Shooting an animal in the water wasn't sporting. Pierre's father always told him that the principle of fair chase meant all game should be given a chance. He said, "A true hunter, whether he's taking meat or seeking a trophy, honors his quarry by following the rules." The previous summer Pierre had watched his voyageur crew club a young doe to death while she was swimming across the Mattawa River, and the thought of it still bothered him.      Since the bear was only twenty yards from shore and swimming fast, Pierre thought it might escape. Then he heard the hammer click back on Beloit's gun. "Come on, sweet Tillie," Beloit whispered, talking to his gun as he always did just before he shot.      In the powder flash and roar that followed, a pair of mallards rose from a reed bed on the far shore. The crewmen cheered as the bear went limp in the water. Beloit shouted his favorite phrase, "Je suis l'homme" ("I am the man"), and waved his gun high overhead in a victory salute.      From his narrow seat in the middle of the canoe, Pierre stared at the bear. As it floated facedown in the water, blood pooled at its shoulder and paled to a misty pink, spreading outward into the clear waters of Mountain Lake. The bear smelled as bad as Pierre's dog, Pepper, did after he'd waded into a swamp.      "Roast bear for breakfast." Beloit grinned, showing his yellow teeth as he slipped a leather cord around the bear's foreleg and tied the loose end around his wrist. "Let's tow her to shore, mesdemoiselles."      The steersman in Pierre's canoe, a giant fellow whom the voyageurs called La Petite, cursed at Beloit and said, "Watch who you're calling girls, pretty boy," but Beloit only laughed harder.      When the canoe glided into the shallows, Beloit stepped out into the knee-deep water.      "You going to take a bath?" yelled the cook, Andre Bellegarde.      "Once a year is plenty," Beloit said, wrapping another turn of the cord around his wrist and bloodying his hands from the wound at the bear's shoulder. "Get your skinning knife ready, Bellegarde."      Then, as Beloit pulled the carcass toward shore, the bear lifted his head out of the water. With a horrifying sound that was part growl and part gurgling snort, the bear leaped up.      "No," Beloit hollered. Pulling hard on the leather cord, he tried to hold the bear back as it ran up the bank. "Noooo," he yelled a second time, planting his moccasins against a rock.      The crew stared openmouthed, as the line tightened and Beloit flew forward. He landed on his belly, and the bear dragged him toward the trees. Just when it looked as if the bowman was going to disappear into the woods, his head smacked into a huge red pine and the cord snapped.      Beloit lay flat on his stomach. He didn't even move when a pinecone fell from the tree and hit him squarely in the back. The crewmen stared silently. He's dead! Pierre thought.      When Beloit finally moaned and rolled over, all four canoes rocked with laughter.      His face was caked with mud and blood. The front of his shirt was covered with pine needles, a ragged hunk of moss stuck to his beard, and his dirty red cap was tilted to one side.      "You alive, Greenbeard?" Bellegarde chuckled.      Beloit, still dazed, grabbed the hunk of moss and dirt hanging on his chest. "Greenbeard, eh? Take this and flavor your soup."      As the clump of moss flew over Bellegarde's head and splashed into the lake, the crew had another good laugh. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from Wintering by William Durbin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.