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Navigating Early | [Clare Vanderpool]

Navigating Early

At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boy's boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can't help being drawn to Early, who won't believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war.
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Publisher's Summary

At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boy's boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can't help being drawn to Early, who won't believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war.

When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear. But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.

©2013 Clare Vanderpool (P)2013 Listening Library

What the Critics Say

"This multilayered, intricately plotted story has a kaleidoscopic effect, blurring the lines between reality and imagination, coincidence and fate." (Publishers Weekly)

"Newbery Medal-winning author Vanderpool's sharp, honest narrative, sparkling with the stars of the night sky, pieces together an elaborate, layered plot with precision, weaving multiple threads into a careful, tidy conclusion perfectly suited for those, like Jack and Early, who want to believe." (Booklist)

"Returning to themes she explored so affectingly in Moon Over Manifest, Newbery Medalist Vanderpool delivers another winning picaresque about memories, personal journeys, interconnectedness - and the power of stories." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (45 )
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4.4 (42 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Julie San Jose, CA, United States 03-22-13
    Julie San Jose, CA, United States 03-22-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Character Study"

    I like coming of age stories and this one was very good. The picaresque elements are satisfying as the two engaging main characters search for important answers. The fairly obvious allegorical use of the Pi story makes an interesting background, and I really enjoyed Mark Bramhall's reading of those elements. I think this would make an excellent vehicle for teaching the novel to the middle-school grades.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Rochester, NY, United States 08-29-13
    Jan Rochester, NY, United States 08-29-13 Member Since 2011

    Eclectic, avid listener, favorite book is the one currently in ear.

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    "Reads Like a Newberry"

    I loved Clare's "Moon Over Manifest" which won the Newberry. This has a similar feel, a gentle, deep story of two Maine boarding school boys having lost family members and coming to terms with it. There is a weaving of past and present, fantasy and reality as the boys follow in the footsteps of a legend... I felt it was nicely done and easy to follow. You do have to suspend your disbelief... but it isn't jarring most of the time. One of the boys is high functioning autistic with OCD, seizures and unusual math abilities... watching the boys friendship grow despite their differences is part of the joy of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Mission Viejo, CA, United States 02-25-13
    Michelle Mission Viejo, CA, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Nice, but predictable coming of age story"

    I liked the parallels between Early's made up story and real life. I always like stories about kids in boarding school.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rae Sedgwick, KS, United States 02-24-13
    Rae Sedgwick, KS, United States 02-24-13 Member Since 2003
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    "Strong Imagery and Amazing Colloquialisms!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Navigating Early to be better than the print version?

    Great word choice and delightful characters!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Navigating Early?

    "If you don't like how it is, then fix it!"

    How many times have we heard that, only to begrudgingly choose to live with the situation rather than change it? When Early offers the advice to Jack we begin to understand how Early's view of the world is influenced, not by what he can't control, ---but rather by the things he can. His fearlessness is admirable and his sense of determination even more so.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This narrator has a wonderful way of making you feel like you are a part of the story --rather than someone who is just being read to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I loved how this book transported me to a time and place from my own childhood where the words of adults didn't always make sense ---until given the opportunity to observe those words in action.

    If you loved hearing the colloquialisms, metaphors, similes, and "ways" of the adults who empowered you as a child, then you will love this book. The tried and true sayings and the words of wisdom resonated on a deeper level for me. They reminded me of the people who shaped my own thinking.




    Any additional comments?

    I am a big fan of Clare Vanderpool's first book and loved this one equally as much. While I am no longer a classroom teacher, I do know that students love being read to. This book would be an amazing read aloud. It offers strong imagery, great descriptions and fun colloquialisms that help add color and depth to the story.

    The use of Pi as a character, rather than just a math reference, offers a parallel reflection for how Early is really feeling. It helps the reader both understand what has happened and the foreboding of what is coming.

    I appreciated the way the two main characters both searched for what they had lost, ---Early for his brother, and Jack for the loving memory of his mother and the pain of a disconnected father. Watching both characters grow as the story unravels helps the reader understand their respective sense of loss and how they each grapple with it.

    Do yourself a favor --give this book a chance. You won't be disappointed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer American Fork, Utah, United States 02-18-13
    Amazon Customer American Fork, Utah, United States 02-18-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Another winner by Clare Vanderpool"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this especially to anyone who enjoyed Moon Over Manifest.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the way Vanderpool intertwined the stories of dealing with loss.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 04-08-13
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 04-08-13 Member Since 2004

    I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.

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    "It was pretty confusing."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Finding the line between believable and fanciful was often difficult. It isn't an easy listen.


    Has Navigating Early turned you off from other books in this genre?

    "this genre?" In my opinion, it would be very helpful to have a few more genres which one could use to search out the type of book the listener enjoys.


    Did Navigating Early inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, to turn off my MP3 and watch some TV!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fairly good story incorporating a character of unusual intelligence.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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