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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  236 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
"Bodett, the genial voice in those Motel 6 commercials, offers a page-turner set in the wilds of Alaska, and he clearly knows the taste of sea and storm, the face of the landscape, and the sound of the loons and the scent of salmon. In this sentimental but rousing tale, September Crane, 13, and her 12-year-old brother, Ivan, are often left to themselves while their father ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Yearling (first published March 16th 1999)
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Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
i read this for a book report in 6th grade...ehh... not the best
May 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Review of the Audiobook

Published in 2000 by Random House Audio
Read by the author, Tom Bodett.
Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Thirteen year old September Crane and her 12 year old brother Ivan live on Bag Bay in Alaska, practically in the middle of nowhere - and they love it, mostly. They enjoy the interaction with nature, they know the bay and how to travel across it. They know how to get clams, how to put vegetables away for the winter and just about how to do everything else for thems
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Gerri R.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Audio is great. Tom Bodett's voice.
Wayne Walker
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Do you know what a “williwaw” is? Thirteen-year-old September Crane, and her twelve-year-old brother, Ivan, live at Steamer Cove on Bag Bay in Alaska. Their mother died one night some seven years ago in a williwaw, the dreaded violent windstorm that sweeps across the bay especially in the fall of the year. Their father is a commercial fisherman who has to be away from home, so the two teens, who are homeschooled, are often left to themselves for periods of time. If something ever happens while t ...more
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
September and Ivan (ages 13 and 12), are frequently left alone for a week at a time while their widowed father is out working on fishing boats. For the most part, it's fine. They do chores around the cabin and try to stay out of the way of their nosy neighbor.

This time is a little different. Their dad will be gone 2 whole weeks. He has given them 2 rules: no more hooking up video games to the radio batteries (that means you, Ivan!), and no going out on the bay. At all. For any reason.

The problem
Susan Wight
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Ivan and September live on an island with their fisherman father. When he is offered a few weeks work on a fishing boat, he plans for the kids to stay with their aunt on the mainland but they convince him they can be left alone. He leaves them with two rules: not to venture into the bay in their boat and Ivan is not to hook up his video game to the radio batteries. You know what happens - Ivan is tempted by the video game, blows the batteries up and they kids decide to row to the mainland and re ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know Tom Bodett the Motel 6 guy that says "We'll leave the lights on for you." Well he is the author and narrator of this really good book. Great story, for 8-15yr olds, though I didn't know it was for the younger set and enjoyed it very much. Set in Alaska kids Ivan and September have adventure, action, orcas, bears, otters, boats, and video game competitions. Kids being kids, as well as doing some really cool stuff most of us just get to dream about. Their Dad is a commercial fisherman and ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, primary, fiction
September and Ivan lived with their father on a bay in remote Alaska. It was 14 miles across the bay to the nearest town. Their father would spent a week at a time on fishing and crab boats out of Dutch Harbor. During those times they were left alone to harvest food, and take care of the home so that they could live through the next winter. On this trip, their father was offered a job to stay out longer. He wanted money to build a boat of their own. Things went well until Ivan wired their radios ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
A great book for the arm-chair thrill seekers. A brother and sister are left alone for a few weeks in their Alaskan home while single dad goes to work on a fishing boat. After frying the radios, the kids' only means of communication to the outside world, they head into town on their small boat to get them repaired. Town is an hour's ride away across a protected bay, but when the wind blows in the right direction, it produces a williwaw, the type of windstorm that took their mother's life years b ...more
Jenny Karraker
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the author's End of the Road, a collection of funny stories about various characters in his hometown of Homer, Alaska. So when I saw this at Good Will, I thought I'd give it a read. I didn't realize it was a young reader book, but still enjoyed the predictable story. The authors descriptions of the land, sunsets, bears and orcas, the often odd characters that choose to live in such an out-of-the-way area, weather patterns around the sea, as well as family dynamics of a single Dad tryin ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great story, for 8-15yr olds, set in Alaska, with adventure, action, orcas, bears, otters, boats, and video game competitions. Kids being kids, as well as doing some really cool stuff most of us just get to dream about. Where Harry Potter is doing cool things in an imaginary world, these kids are having real-life escapades and adventures. The slice-of-life descriptions are well written: of the people and natural beauty around them; the relationship with their father; and with the other main adul ...more
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adventure seekers, children
Shelves: fiction, children
Brother-sister duo Ivan and September spend days home alone when their father is called away on a commercial fishing expedition. Though the readers know from the get-go that the kids will be caught in the storm, Tom Bodett does a wonderful job holding readers' interest through the course of the story. Both Ivan and September are developed characters; September's love interest and her crush were a little less well-developed. I picked up this novel without realizing it was intended for younger re ...more
Lisa Rathbun
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Not a bad story at all and a fun glimpse into living off the land in Alaska. My biggest problem was that the cover of the book showed kids in a boat on the ocean and said, "They're two kids in a tiny boat. Can they survive Alaska's fiercest storm." I spent the whole book waiting for the Williwaw part, which didn't start until chapter 15 out of 18. That left me glossing over too much of the book as I kept waiting for the "main part" to start. I think I would have just marketed it a little differe ...more
Dec 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
As a true bookworm, I can say without bias that this book was without a doubt, exceedingly, indubitably.... horrible.

The only time that this brother and sister duo is out at sea is within the last 10 pages of the novel... if you would call it that. I read this book a few years ago in fifth grade as a requirement, and the book made us kids miserable. It was poorly paced with no major, gripping plot whatsoever. I don't know anyone personally that enjoyed the book, and I'm shocked that this book
Sunnyvale Librarian
Do you like action and adventure? Then you'll love Williwaw! Brother and sister, Ivan and September, are often left alone in their small Alaskan town while their dad leaves on fishing trips to earn a living. They take care of the chores, independently take a boat from their isolated home into the small town, and learn about powerful weather. Read this to learn about a world completely different from that in Sunnyvale.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a fun afternoon listening to this book while I did some major baking. I liked the characters and the adventure. I wanted to shake the kids as I listened to some of the scrapes they got into, but then, I'm an adult. Kids 5th and 6th grade and up will really enjoy this. Might be a good one to read aloud.
Pranav Saha
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Listened on audio - Tom Bodett has an amazing voice that draws you in. I'm late in just discovering his works, but he's a fantastic story teller. This book was a great balance of coming-of-age themes, suspense, and light humor set in a backdrop that seems to come to life through his words. Felt very connected to the characters from the beginning to the end!
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: battle-books
Reading with Danielle. She is reading this book for lit circle at school (also a Battle Book).

This was an excellent precautionary tale of how you need to follow rules that parents set for you (they usually have a good reason). Also illustrates how much trouble it is to cover-up after you have done wrong (one lie leads to another, etc...).
This book is about a couple of homeschool kids who deal with some dangerous conditions related to weather and the bay they live on in Alaska. They have lost their mother and there father is away. Interesting setting for an enjoyable young adult novel. Plus, you've just got to like a word like "Williwaw"!
Oct 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Another boring book I had to read in elementary school, sixth grade I think, why anyone considers this an interesting read for anyone is beyond me. It's too bad there are not very many good books for kids grade third through six.
Donna K
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved this book but as a read aloud it had mixed reviews. Some students were anxious for it to end but some loved it. We voted and the class chose not to abandon it. I suspect I love it so much because it is about Alaska.
May 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: alaska nerds, kids
Shelves: alaska, ya-kid
great kids book. felt silly reading it on BART, etc. but it's about alaska so i couldn't resist. i like reading a children's book every now and then, and when i learned tom bodett lived in alaska for 23 years, this was the first of his books i picked up. it made me want to live out in the bush!
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Williwaw! was an enjoyable story about two resourceful kids in Alaska. Tom Bodett had a delightfully vivid way of describing Alaska. I also liked his narration. I'd love to read about September and Ivan again in another book.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Caudill List 2003
Brother and sister living on the Alaskan coast disobey father's orders and end up trapped in a dangerous storm known as a williwaw.
Authentic characters, quick paced survival story
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Listening to Tom Bodet tell this tale, added to the excitement of the story. The story relates life in the Alaska and the challenges of growing up.
Great story for families.
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom Bodett has become a family favorite, and we listened to this on our move out of Alaska.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read this on to your kids. You will all enjoy it.
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Tom Bodett is an American author, voice actor and radio host. He is also the current spokesman for the hotel chain Motel 6 and is famous for popularizing the phrase, "We'll leave the light on for you".
A native of Sturgis, Michigan, Bodett had previously provided commentary for National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and was a regular columnist for the webzine Mr. Showbiz. He also did the
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