Will Rollins, a greenhorn - cheechako - (chee-chock-oh) is miserable in his new Alaska life. In addition to the bully after him, he can't seem to make any friends in school and doesn't know a thing about dogsleds, riverboats, hunting, or surviving at 40 degrees below zero. When Will darts out alone onto rampaging river ice to rescue a stranded dog, his bravery wins him a valuable, trained sled dog, Blackie, and a new human friend as well, an Alaskan Indian boy named Elias. It's Elias who challenges and inspires the cheechako to become a rugged outdoorsman and a real Alaskan.
Will starts out by feeding, harnessing and then driving a sled dog team. He learns to throw a hatchet - and hit what he aims at! He learns to snowshoe and stay alive in the cold, to challenge his fears, and to push on when everything he wants to do is quit. Best of all, he learns to be a good friend. But when a fierce, Siberian blizzard rampages across central Alaska, stranding Will's family, nearly burying their log cabin in wind-blown snow, it will be up to Will and Blackie to try to make it out alive. With Elias injured and Will's family in danger of freezing, can a cheechako save them? Can he save himself?
©2011 Jonathan Thomas Stratman (P)2013 Jonathan Thomas Stratman
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