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The Trap

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3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  266 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Johnny Least-Weasel knows that his grandfather Albert is a stubborn old man and won’t stop checking his own traplines even though other men his age stopped doing so years ago. But Albert Least-Weasel has been running traplines in the Alaskan wilderness alone for the past sixty years. Nothing has ever gone wrong on the trail he knows so well. When Albert ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Square Fish (first published September 19th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 530)
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Thomas
Apr 08, 2009 Thomas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Survival/Adventure fans
"The Trap" is about seventeen year old Johnny Least-Weasel and his pursuit to save his grandfather from "the trap" itself. It switches narrative from Johnny to Albert (his grandfther) and tells a story of fast-paced action and the survival skills neccesary to survive in below freezing temperatures.

I would NOT reccomend this book to younger children, although the length of the book might make it seem that it is meant for that age group. Some parts of the book were pretty gruesome, escpecially tow
...more
Jessica
Dec 28, 2009 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kristen and anyone who lives or has lived in Alaska.
A very powerful book that makes you think about life. The imagery was so powerful I had to mark sections to re-read. I went to the authors website and found out more about him. I'll bet my brother-in-law knows him or of him. Our paths may have crossed since he went to UAF. He has done so much with his life and has really lived his life. He has also helped many people preserve their culture. I also found that he writes from personal experience of his own or of his relatives

In brief: A grandfather
...more
Sherry
A quick 3 hour read. I hate unhappy endings.....I know, I am a sucker....but I want to know that everything ends happily ever after. Still, you need to read this. I am sure Smelcer did not do his research....we do not call snowmobiles snowmobiles...every time he referenced this I cringed (which is a lot)...sorry...I can't give it more than a 2.5 at most. Nevermind that I hate unhappy endings. Dang it! I did picture my friends in the village of Hughes...a river that is a lifeline, remote from eve ...more
Alicia
Spare, lyrical writing (a discussion group described it as "man pretty"). An old Indian man is trapped in his own bear trap in winter in a harsh northern land, and his 19-year-old grandson eventually searches for him. I liked it, and some teens might enjoy it, but I don't think it's truly a teen novel (whatever that is). Chalk another one up to publishers trying to cash in on the only growing segment of the industry.
Sara
Short, wonderfully haunting and descriptive book that really conveys the stark and barren subject matter of the Alaskan north well. While the book itself is short, it's not light reading in the least (IMO), but is a fantastically written book that will really stick with you. I'm glad I picked this up.
Jean
Don't read this book if you are cold already. This is definitely NOT light reading. Think The Old Man and the Sea.
cole
This book was a good book because you didn't know what was going to happen.And it didn't leave you hanging .
Reece Eifert
I rated this book a 5/5 because it was very interesting. This book was interesting because it had allot of suspense and very exciting. I also liked this book because it was very suspenseful because the characters in the book are very life like and they do things that other people also do so it is very realistic. The main character of the book is johnny and johnny's grandpa and johnny's grandpa goes trapping one night and does not come back for a while. I would recommend this book to other people ...more
Joe
This book will appeal to many teens. The main reason may be in the way it is written from the views of two different characters. One whom is worried about his grandfather, and one who is trapped. The writing style was fun to read. To go with this, there is the element of survival. Many teens enjoy being taken out to the wilderness when they read, far away from their normal city or suburb life. Hopefully teens will also remember how education is shown to be important. Finally, learning about Nati ...more
Charlotte Jones
This novel is about an old man who is on his way home from a hunting trip and accidentally gets his leg caught in one of this own traps. It accounts his struggle to survive and his grandson's journey to rescue his grandfather. This story is set in an Alaskan winter, adding to the threat of the grandfather's life and also the worry of Johnny back at the village.

As far as a survival story goes, this novel wasn't very captivating. Although the level of danger to the grandfather, Arthur, was quite h
...more
Mary
More like 3.5 or 3.8 stars.

Told from alternating points of view - Albert Least-Weasel, an elderly Native American who has been caught by one of his own traps out in the polar wilderness and Johnny Least-Weasel, Albert's grandson who is worried when his grandfather doesn't return as expected. The juxtapostion of past and present is very evident in this story - as he waits for rescue, Albert remembers his life living the traditional ways, and as Johnny decides whether or not a rescue party is nece
...more
Suzanne
I randomly pulled this off the YA shelf in the library to entertain myself while my son was playing in the children's area, and I ended up taking it home with me to finish. (Sidenote: It was fun to choose a book this way -- I don't often do it any more. I'd never heard of it, but liked the title, the cover, the premise, and there was a nice blurb from Bradbury on the front.)

Initially, it felt like something we might have been assigned to read in about sixth grade. Simple language, beautiful desc
...more
Richard Van Camp
When I heard that John Smelcer was the last speaking member of his nation, the Ahtna First Nation, I just had to read this book. The story follows seventeen-year-old Johnny Least-Weasel as he worries about his grandfather, Albert, who does not return from his trap line when a storm rolls through Alaska. This novel is epic in theme and an unforgettable read. Completely heartbreaking. I wrote to Mr. Smelcer, to see if it was true that he was the last speaking member of his Nation and to praise him ...more
Charmie
I rated this 5/5 because after I read the book, my heart fell into pieces and I held the book like it was some kind of stuff toy on my chest, as I cry myself to ease the pain away.

I thought it was another one of them unrecognized books that would bore me as because I got this at a thrift bookstore and I just bought it because of the nice plot it got on the paper cover, but to my surprise.. I love it. Some elements of my book tastes were there. Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Beast, Man to Son relations
...more
Laura
I think this is more of a class novel or literature circle book than an independent reading book for kids. It's good, but I think it might go over the head of a lot of middle school readers without some structure for figuring it out.

It's the story of John Least-Weasel and his grandfather. Johnny's grandfather is caught in a trap while working on his trapline in Alaska. They're Indians, so Grandfather is very capable of survival in the wilderness, but when he's trapped in his own trap even a few
...more
Rhonda Morris
This story takes place in northern Alaska, where in the winter the temperature can drop to 65 degrees below zero. The author tells the story of Johnny Least-Weasel and his grandfather and the dangers of living in such a frozen world. This is a place where food is flown in on a bush plane or you hunt for it. Johnny's grandfather likes to hunt, but when his grandfather does not come home when expected, he begin to worry that something is wrong. Johnny does not know whether to trust his grandfather ...more
Nate Bruns
I rated the trap a four star because the book was interesting all throughout the book. Some things that happened in the book was that Johnny's grandpa got caught in his own trap. So, Johnny goes out to look for his grandpa. With time running out, Johnny's hope is going down to find his grandpa. Will Johnny find his grandfather in time, so that his grandpa doesn't die? Find out and read the trap. I would definattly recommend this book to different people.
Khalid
This book was about an old man who has a grandson that cares about him. One day the old man goes in the alaskin wilderniss and checks his trap to see if he caught anything. He accedently steps on the trap and gets stuck there for days. His grandson gets woried and finnaly he goes and looks for him. Iliked the book it was intersting learning about all that stuff like how to survive in the forest and how he makes fire with only two sticks.
Lotte
I added this to my to-read shelf because both my brother Richard and my friend Jean had read it and it looked interesting. It is cold (colder actually), stark, haunting. I thought of The Old Man and the Sea when I read it. I came to write this review and first read Jean's review and found that our thoughts had run alike. Now that I have finished it, I am going to read it aloud with Davy or with Dave and Davy on the road in a couple of weeks. Later: Just finished reading it to Davy - he found it ...more
Myranda
After reading 10 pages of The Trap by John Smelcer, I chose not to read it for my second book report. I chose not to read it for my book report because it did not interest me. Another reason I chose to not read this book was because it was hard to follow. Because of these reasons, I rated the book 2 stars. However, this could change if I were to read the book in its entirety.
AnnieM
I was hoping this would be another option for kids who like Hatchet or Touching Spirit Bear.

This is a great book for people who have never lived anywhere cold. It will give you a great idea of the MILLIONS of types of snow and the HUNDREDS of ways you can die in the cold.

So no, it won't make the suggestion list.
Josh
Yes, Johnny feels more like a sketch than a character, but that may be a strength rather than a weakness here. He's the young reader's avatar and entry into a story they would surely not even attempt otherwise. Lyrical, beautiful, and subtle, it was so much more than I had ever hoped to expect.
Kimberly
This was a good quick young adult read. I enjoyed the insights in to the Indian lifestyle, the two short Indian tales told before each chapter, and arc of the story. A nice quick read.
Heather
Mini-Review

This was an enjoyable read. I liked the tales at the beginning of each chapter, and I love that they related to the overall story. The main characters were likable, and there was good characterization. The Indian traditions and stories the characters told built the environment and world. The story was a bit slow at times, but it didn’t take away from anything. I thought the ending was really great, though others might not think this. I won’t spoil it but just prepare for some intense
...more
J
Short book told in the alternating voices of 80-year-old Albert Least-Weasel, who has caught his foot in one of his own hunting traps, and the grandson who is his only hope of survival. Which will be his undoing, the bitter Alaskan cold, or the pack of circling wolves? This is a gritty, tough depiction of living in Alaska with a fair amount of information about Inuit customs and culture thrown in, making this a bit of a tough sell to middle school boys, its true target audience. Smelcer would ha ...more
Robin
I finished this book yesterday, and it's haunting me. Beautifully descriptive. The boy & the grandfather, who are the main characters, come across as real people, and while I read I was just begging for them to be successful, make good choices, come out okay in the end. But it's a short, thoughtful, slow-moving story. Even though it's a survival tale, it's not really for fans of Hatchet or adventure stories. I'm not sure who it's for. I really liked it, but couldn't give it more stars becaus ...more
Sam
Very slow paced and a bit anticlimactic.
Jennifer Miera
Wasn't terribly impressed by this one. The characters, with the exception of the grandpa, were a little flat. The author's writing was also odd at times, referring to the main character, Johnny, as "the young indian" when "Johnny" would have sufficed. Obviously, race plays a part in this book, but I have yet to see a white author say, "the young white boy" in reference to his characters. I won't select this for my teen book club. It was a mediocre read with a few interesting parts. Going to try ...more
Dragon
Do you like hunting and trapping animals, because if you do than this is the book for you! It starts out in a peaceful place called the Valley of White Kings. It was about mid winter and it has been snowing for several days. And Albert least-weasel is stuck in his own trap. So he has weak supplies and and a spear. With wolves surrounding him he has to find a way home. Again his son is trying to find him out in the dark with wolves and bear out there! So if you like hunting and trapping this woul ...more
Jace. b
I gave this book five stars because I really like hunting trapping so this book fit that description perfectly. And it has techniques for if you are in a survival situation and you get caught while you are out checking your trap line and this book talks about hunting moose and caribou and what they are trying to catch and what they use for bait and they have a lot of stories about when he is checking his trap line like having a trap catch one of his toes so if you like hunting or trapping this b ...more
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T.Burchett 2 5 Apr 26, 2012 10:09AM  
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John E. Smelcer is the poetry editor of Rosebud magazine and the author of more than forty books. He is an Alaskan Native of the Ahtna tribe, and is now the last tribal member who reads and writes in Ahtna.

His forthcoming novel, LONE WOLVES is being partially funded via an Indiegogo campaign. Check out this video and the unusual gifts offered. Among them, you can choose an autographed, numbered, l
...more
More about John E. Smelcer...
The Great Death Edge of Nowhere Lone Wolves The Raven and the Totem A Cycle of Myths: Indian Myths from Southeast Alaska

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