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The Trap

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  356 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
A gripping wilderness adventure and survival story

It was getting colder. Johnny pulled the fur-lined hood of his parka over his head and walked towards his own cabin with the sound of snow crunching beneath his boots.

"He should be back tomorrow," he thought, as a star raced across the sky just below the North Star.

"He should be back tomorrow for sure."

Seventeen-year-old J
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Apr 08, 2009 Thomas rated it really liked it
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
Jan 19, 2016 Nolan rated it really liked it
This book takes place in two perspectives, one is the 17-year-old Johnny Least-Weasel; the other, his grandfather, Albert. Johnny knows that his grandfather, Albert, is stubborn and will go check his traps until he dies. One day Albert is checking his traps, nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Then... Snap he look down and saw that his foot is caught in a bear trap. At first he's laughing, then he realizes that he can't get out of it, and he is just barely out of reach of all his stuff he ...more
Denis Barrios
Feb 27, 2016 Denis Barrios rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book that got you so interesting and made you want to keep reading especially if you like the outdoors?This book might be one. "The Trap" shows you different kinds of snow and different survival skills for the wilderness. This book was really good. The point of view is first person, but switches characters for example Johnny tells a part of the story then his Grandfather continues telling what happened. I would say the conflict is person vs. nature because of Johnny's grandf ...more
Dec 28, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
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
Oct 27, 2016 Gavin rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book "The Trap". I could relate to this book book very well because his dog died and I lost two recently. The book is a good and quick read. When i would start to read it i did not want to put it down.

In the book a boy named Albert Least Weasel who lives in an Indian village is struggling with a choice he has to make. The choice is that he can either go find and help his grandfather who has been in the the harsh Alaskan winter or he can just for him to return. Albert who is on
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
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.
Dec 06, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-books-ever
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.
Mar 03, 2008 Jean rated it really liked it
Don't read this book if you are cold already. This is definitely NOT light reading. Think The Old Man and the Sea.
Nov 23, 2011 cole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done
This book was a good book because you didn't know what was going to happen.And it didn't leave you hanging .
Oct 30, 2016 Monique rated it really liked it
The Trap
The Trap relates the story of an elderly native man named Albert Least-Weasel and his grandson, Johnny Least-Weasel. Albert is out in the Alaskan wilderness checking his traplines. When he doesn’t return on time and the temperature drops, Johnny and Albert’s wife begin to worry about the old man. Johnny believes he should go out and look for his grandfather, but others in the community advise him against this action, suggesting that his Grandfather is fine because he knows what he is doi
Destiny Wiles
Jan 15, 2017 Destiny Wiles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: need-to-buy
This was a fantastic book! I've honestly never read anything like it. The imagery in this book is some of the best I think I've ever read.
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
Nov 03, 2012 Charmie rated it it was amazing
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
Richard Van Camp
Nov 08, 2012 Richard Van Camp rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 09, 2012 Suzanne rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Nov 17, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
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
Aug 19, 2008 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
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
Sam Mickelson
Mar 12, 2016 Sam Mickelson rated it it was amazing
I was not sure what to expect when I picked this book. I have always had an interest in Native Americans and Alaska. This book was great giving details about both. Albert Least-Weasel, the grandpa goes out to check his animal traps in the cold(-30 degrees) Alaskan wilderness when he ends up getting stuck in his own trap. He then goes into survival mode to live day and night in the harsh environment with very little supplies.
The other point of view of the story is Johnny, the grandson. He is 17 a
May 05, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: 60626-ya
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
Rhonda Morris
Jul 24, 2009 Rhonda Morris rated it really liked it
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
Toby Inman
Jan 05, 2016 Toby Inman rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Johnny Least-Weasel worries about his grandfather Albert Least-Weasel checking his trap lines because most men his age don’t any more. One day Albert runs his trap lines but never comes home that night. When Albert was checking his traps, he accidentally shut in a bear trap that closed on his leg. He tried to pry it open, but he couldn’t muster enough strength to get his leg out. The weather started to get worse and worse, and the temperature kept dropping. He tried to chisel the stake out of th ...more
Apr 29, 2008 Lotte rated it really liked it
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
Zayne Schizas
Mar 21, 2016 Zayne Schizas rated it it was amazing
The author of the novel uses a lot of description to set the bleak tone of the story. He displays the plot in a unique and fascinating way that really intrigues. The author sets the place of the bleak Native American land in Alaska. The story conflicts from two viewpoints, that of the elderly Albert Least-Weasel, and his grandson, Johnny. Albert is out checking on his trap line, when he gets his foot stuck in a trap. He know has to figure out how to survive until help can come. In the other pers ...more
Rachel Page
Aug 22, 2016 Rachel Page rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Albert Least-Weasel is out checking his trap lines in the Alaskan wilds. The snow is coming down thick and fast. The cold is closing in. Despite years of experience, Albert's foot slips and a trap snaps shut around his ankle. Everyone in his village knows that it is his trapline and wouldn't disturb his territory. The temperature keeps dropping and his provisions are just out of reach. How will he get himself free?

The book wasn't as tense as I would have expected. Towards the end it certainly go
Apr 06, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, reviewed

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
Jun 06, 2010 J rated it liked it
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
Jace. b
Jan 05, 2012 Jace. b rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 28, 2009 Dragon rated it it was amazing
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
Reece Eifert
Dec 19, 2014 Reece Eifert rated it it was amazing
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
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T.Burchett 2 7 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 about John E. Smelcer...

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