By Kirkpatrick Hill
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Copyright © 1993
After surviving in the wild at fish camp after their mother and father die, Toughboy and Sister end up living with their neighbor Natasha. Natasha is an old Athabascan Indian woman who had no children of her own; she is tough as nails and has a personality to match. Natasha often complains to the children that the young are forgetting the old ways, and she often tries to teach the children about the old ways by telling them stories and by telling them what things are “Hutlanee” (wrong).
Natasha decides that she is going to take Toughboy and Sister up to winter camp, like she and her family did in the old days. They go to a little cabin in the wilderness to trap animals for their pelts. Toughboy and Sister find out that winter camp is hard work, but everything goes alright until they get unexpected visitors in an old man named Nelson and a Bull Moose. What happens next combined with the extremely cold temperatures will cause them to depend on the old ways for survival, and Natasha and Nelson might just see a use for the new ways.
This is a wonderful book of Alaskan adventure for children, especially for learning a little about the Native Alaskan Culture. For further reading the prequel to “Winter Camp” is called “Toughboy and Sister” and it is just as enjoyable. Kirkpatrick Hill has also written a more recent book about an Alaskan schoolhouse called “The Year of Miss Agnes”.