________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006


Shooting the Rapids. (HIP-JR.).

Paul Kropp. Illustrated by Catherine Doherty.
Toronto, ON: HIP Books, 2006.
63 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-897039-20-4.

Subject Headings:
Canoes and canoeing-Juvenile fiction.
Wilderness survival-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by J.A.Greavett.

*** /4

Shooting the Rapids: Teacher’s Guide.

Lori Jamison.
Toronto, ON: HIP Books, 2006.
22 pp., pbk., $5.95.


My Dad likes to goof around…It was my dad goofing around that made all the trouble later on. But that was later on.

Dad lost his balance. For a second, I thought he was pretending...

“Dad, Dad, are you okay?”

I went into Dad’s pack and found a map and a compass. That was good. But nothing on the map made sense. That was bad. There were all these lakes, all these lines on the paper. And what do you do with a compass.


Two boys, Connor and Timmy, are on the annual summer canoe trip with their dad when whining and complaining over nothing become whining and complaining for a reason. The locale is Canadian, and the plot is Lost in the Barrens-like. The boys’ thoughts are strictly 21st century - embarrassed by parents and needing to be connected (or disconnected) through electronics. These touchstones to the modern world make the characters and their struggles accessible and believable to young readers. What do you do when you’re on your own and there is no contact with the outside world? The inept resourcefulness of Connor and Timmy leads the reader on an action packed ride through the perils of camping. The cliff hanger chapter endings keep the reader on edge and wanting more.

     Shoot the Rapids is part of an ongoing series of high interest/low vocabulary stories published by H.I.P. (High Interest Publishing). Just the thought of high interest/low vocabulary brings to mind books using words chosen only from the 100 most frequently used word list, such as the cat that sat on the mat that patted at the rat. This is definitely not the case with Kropp’s Shoot the Rapids. Kropp has taken the high interest/low vocabulary format and combined it with the Saturday matinee cliffhanger. This combination keeps readers interested and wanting more. The action sequences are frequent and riveting. I read the story aloud to a class of grade two students, and they were begging for my weekly visits. I also used the book as part of a literature circle with six reluctant grade four students. They, too, were enthralled and finished the book in a record week (the first time this group had ever finished a book in less than a month and without struggle). I also left the book out as part of independent reading time. It was always off the shelf and the waiting list was five names long. The teacher’s guide covers most of the strategic areas of reading. It is clear, concise and easy to follow. The photocopyable pages make literature circles and guided reading groups easy.

      Shoot the Rapids is recommended for personal, school and public libraries.


J.A. Greavett lives in Kingston, Ontario. An educator of all age levels, including pre-service teachers. She lives to read and writes to live.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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