The Winter Room

by Gary Paulsen

Hardcover, 1989



Local notes

Fic Pau




Orchard (1989), Edition: First Printing, 103 pages. $15.95.


A young boy growing up on a northern Minnesota farm describes the scenes around him and recounts his old Norwegian uncle's tales of an almost mythological logging past.

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

103 p.; 8.53 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member shumphreys
Grade 5-8: Independent Reading. Strengths - Rich imagery, relatable childhood experiences, Norwegian Culture (cultural enrichment).
Weaknesses: not much action within plot, vocabulary words (snoose as in chewing tobacco)
Wide appeal - yes! undoubtedly

The Winter Room describes the charms and
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mysteries of life on a farm in rural Northern Michigan. It is an endearing tribute to boyhood. I do believe, though, that the narrator, Eldon, is older than 11 years old. He has many sophisticated ideas and has a refined sense of humor making him a very precocious child. The story is very much a journey rather than an exciting plot. Gary Paulsen describes rural farmlife with such imagery and illumination as to excite one’s imagination. The kind of story where you don’t know where it’s leading and, frankly, you don’t care because the slow and steady pace gives you time to smell the flowers—and the blood.
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LibraryThing member jessica.kohout
Eldon is an eleven-year old young man growing up on a farm in northern Minnesota and describes the environment around him as the seasons change over the year. He also retells his Uncle David's stories about his past and of Norwegian folklore, which are told in the family's living room, or "winter
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room," where they gather on long, cold nights.

A Newbery Honor Book, Gary Paulsen succeeds in hooking the reader in the opening paragraphs of the story as well as in his preface. He appeals to the reader's senses in his imagery and tells the reader in his first sentence that "if books could be more, could show more, could own more, this book would have smells..." (1). The reader is immediately drawn into the book and is curious how a book could fulfill such a concept. The first paragraphs of the first chapter also intrigue the reader as Eldon, the narrator, insists that the spring season is not a time of awakening like his brother's teacher believes, but is rather only a time of awakening of smells, as the world begins to unthaw on the farm. Eldon describes the chores, events, and other seasonal happenings and exposes the reader to a world most unlikely uncommon to him/her. His descriptions are full of rich details appeal to the sight, sound, smell, and taste senses. The vivid details make Eldon and his family his experience on the farm real. The reader feels immersed into the hard work the farm requires and well as surrounded by the love the family has for one another.

Awards and Honors: Newbery Honor 1990
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LibraryThing member mexicarita
The Winter Room is about two young boys who live on a farm with their mother, father, and their two great uncles. The winter room refers to the living room where the majority of winter is spent indoors after chores, sharing in eachothers' company and listening to the stories told by their uncles.
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When a story about the older uncle's woodcutting ability is told that the older brother calls out a questionable at best and an ourtight lie at its worst, The uncle falls into a self doubting depression. The evening story time takes on a diminished sense of sadness. The brothers, under the cover of barn, peering out from a missing board, witness the uncle regain his former glory by splitting a piece of wood in two with two axes, perfectly right down the center. The boys never revealed to the uncle what they saw, but everything went back to normal in the "winter room".

I hated this book; I thought the writing tried so hard to be authentic that it failed hitting the mark miserably by coming off as pretencious crap. I thought the dialogue of the younger brother didn't sound anything like any young farm boy I had ever run across. I hated the way the story went in super detailed about mundane itmes and activities around the farm and then built up th ewhole story around this uncle, then dropped the ending into your lap in just a few short pages. Less time on describing the milking process of cows and more time on character development would have served this author well. My spell check is also not working so I know I spelled pretencious wrong. Ironically, that is not something you want to spell wrong.

For extension ideas, we could visit a farm
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LibraryThing member olive_mucho
This story is excellent. I really enjoyed the story details. The story is about two brothers, there family, and there two uncles. In which one, that tells them stories majority of the winter season. At the end the boy get so upset and looses all faith in the uncle. But, after watching his uncle
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work for an old dream he gives the uncle a second chance. Over all, the two boys decided to have there uncle tell them stories forever.

The story did relates to me because I felt the same way once. Yet, I didn’t have the issue with my uncle but my dad. He told me stories and I thought they were true until they were just old dreams. So, weird. I never read a book that had a story inside of the story.

I would use this book in my class room. First I would set up a time for all the students to gather and listen to the story. After, a month the book should be done. I would have the students write a short summary of the story. They cant then answer the stories al the end that I have photo copied. The second activity the student could do is a drawing of one scene they pictured as I read the story. And I would get the pictures eliminated and hag them up on a wall in the classroom.
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LibraryThing member merestreet123
This book is set in Montana on a farm. Five people, Eldon and his brother, two great uncles, and parents, all live together. They are all very hard workers throughout all four seasons. Winter is everybody's favorite time of year because they all gather together in the living room, or winter room,
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and listen to Uncle David tell amazing stories from long ago. He makes them all up, except one.He tells a story of an old famous woodcutter that could cut wood like nobody else. Wayne and Eldon discover this woodcutter is actually their very own Uncle David.
This is a very interesting story. It has so much imagery, and I admire the way this family works so hard. I live on a farm and understand everything that he goes through in all of his chores. I also remember reading this book in fourth grade, but forgot everything about the story. This was a brain refreshener, and I love this book now!
This book could be used in the classroom in a literature circle. We could really focus on characters, plot, theme, setting, etc. There is so much deep thought that could come out of a reader after reading this novel!
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LibraryThing member Purr4kitty2003
The Winter Room is a short book that is qualified as an adventure, but felt extremely unadventurous to me. The book is told from the standpoint of the youngest son of the family, who is never named. It is divided into four parts, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and each part describes the life
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on the narrator’s farm during the correlating season.

The narrator does not feel very developed. He was sickly growing up, so he is babied a bit by his family, which consists of his Father, Mother, Brother Wayne, Uncle David and Nels. It is Uncle David who tells the stories that the family listens to every evening of the winter, gathered together in the Winter Room. This is actually the living room, but they call it the Winter Room as they spend all of the winter evenings there. Uncle David’s stories always start with the story of his wife, then he tells of adventures. They seem tall tales, although one is actually a story about him, The Woodcutter. When Wayne decides Uncle David is telling falsehoods, he grows very angry, until he and his brother actually witness the amazing feat performed in the flesh.

This book bored me to tears. It did not feel very adventurous, although there are a few moments I enjoyed. When Wayne, imitating a cowboy from a book, decides to jump out of the haymow onto a horse, merely bounces off the horse, scaring the animal so much it breaks the pig pen wall and pigs go running everywhere, I could not help but laugh. However, much of the accurate description of what happens on a farm, although vividly rendered, was gory and not enjoyable at all. I cannot believe it won the Newbery Medal. I was very glad that the book was so short. One Star.
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LibraryThing member eputney87
Summary- Elodon and his brother Wayne live on their family farm together. Each of the seasons brings something new to their lives. Although winter is cold, it brings some of the most memorable days for these brothers as they sit around the fire and tell stories with their mom, dad and uncle.
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Strength- This book has a tremendous amount of gory details. Its greatest strength is its ability to grab the attention of reluctant readers through the detail of gruesome farm stories.

Use with Children- This would be a great book to use with kids when talking about using all of your senses during the reading process. Students will be able to practice hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing and touching the scenes of the stories as Paulson brings the ideas to life.
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LibraryThing member Bobby3457
I thought that this book had interesting stuff to tell, but was not able deliver on parts of it. At first it is slow then it becomes more fastly paced. First it tells how the seasons are each different to Eldon and his older brother Wayne. Eldon is the main character in this book. After the book
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tells about each of the seasons Eldon's uncle, Uncle David tells them stories. At the end of the book Wayne convinces Eldon that the stories that Uncle David tells are fake and made up. There are no more stories for a while, but then Uncle David does something that proves them all wrong. I think that anyone that liked the book Hatchet also written by Gary Paulsen will like this book.
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LibraryThing member Ashleyreece
The Winter Room was not at all what I expected. I read the back of the book I expected a big climax. it was very slow to start off. Eldon talks about his life on the farm and how each season is different form the next. He also talks about his relationship with his brother Wayne. He tells about his
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uncle and the stories that he tells. Over all its an okay book.

My thoughts:
I didn't really care for this book. it was very slow and I thought it would be something very different than it was.

I would use this in a lesson about farms and seasons. i would have my kids write about how they would feel living on a farm.

i would also use this book in a lesson about folktales and old stories. i would let my students write their own folktale.
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LibraryThing member bettybealis
“The Winter Room”
This book tells the story of life on a farm in Minnesota through the different seasons. The point of view is through the eyes of a young boy named Edon who lives on the farm. He lives with his brother, mother, father, and two elderly uncles that emigrated there from Norway.
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The first four chapters cover each season of the year and the last four covers stories that the Uncles tell around the fire in the winter. This is a great story to use in history class for how people lived on a farm in earlier times. One activity to do with this book is to compare life on a farm then to life on a farm now. You could also compare stories from your won living older relatives to the stories from the book. I rate this book with four stars, because it is a humorous read and moves fast. Each chapter could even stand alone if you wanted to split it up into several different readings.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
While there is nothing exceptional about this 1990 Newbery honor book, I enjoyed it for the slow, easy pace. I liked the clear, crisp images of a time in rural Minnesota when life consisted of a family bound together by the joint efforts of farming.

It was delightful and calming to read.
LibraryThing member JeraSullivan
Eleven-year old Eldon talks about his life on a farm in rural Minnesota. He talks about each of the seasons and how they change each year. He lives with his brother, mother, father, and 2 uncles. He talks mostly about his relationship with his brother Wayne and his Uncle David who tells
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Personal Reaction:
I expected a little more from this book but if was very slow paced. It has some good information about living on a farm back in the day and some good information about how different the seasons are on a farm.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. I could use this book with a lesson on seasons.
2. I could use this book to compare living on a farm back in the day to present day.
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LibraryThing member SharineHodge
This story was about an eleven-year old boy by the name of Eldon who discusses his life on a farm located in the rural areas of Minnesota. He lives with his brother Wayne, Uncle David, mom, dad, Nels, and the farm. This novel clarifies each of the seasons in sections: Spring, Summer, Fall
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and Winter. Eldon seems to be fascinated about seasons as he discusses each season and the changes that come along with them from year to year. Eldon describes each season separately; the newness of spring, the sweat and labor of summer, necessary but painful killing in fall and the stories of winter. He talks about how each season brings its own nature, responsibities, hardtime and good times. He talks mostly about his relationship with his brother Wayne and his Uncle David who tells stories around winter time. His brother Wayne convinces Eldon that the stories that Uncle David tells are not real but merely fabricated ones. Uncle David takes a brief break from the story telling until he proves to them that his stories are quite real.

Personal Reaction:
I think this book was interestingly laid out in colorful sections. Each section brings an emotion alive that takes us to the specified season. I think children of all ages can benefit from this book and find it amazing. I especially likes how each of the seasons were laid out in sections an this would definitely give children a good idea that clarifies the differences between the seasons.

This book can be used in a lesson or unit about seasons. Students can be asked to draw the different seasons and write a brief description about each season to s how their understanding of each. Lead a discussion about life on a farm to see what children think about it then compare that of the story’s to how life on a farm is today.
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LibraryThing member derock35
this book is about a kid and his brother listening to
their grandpa's life storys
LibraryThing member mduval7
The winter room had different messages about taking the passing of time and learning from your elders. Overall I had a mixed opinion on the book and couldn't get fully invested in it heavily. One thing I didn't like was the layout of the book, the flow from season to season as chapters progressed
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really annoyed me. I know that it was a logical step to go through the seasons in order but the book revolved heavily around the winter story and the story telling yet it was such a small part of the story. Something I liked was the character progression of the main character Eldon, even though it was shaky at times. The way he moved through the life, learning lessons from both the older and the younger members of his home and from the world itself was very relate able and easy to like.
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LibraryThing member mnahardiman
This is the story of the Winter Room. The winter room is the living room, where the family spends most of their time during the long, harsh, and cold winter. The book tells of all of the things that the family did during the winter in that room. The book also tells of every other season and
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the work that has to be done on the farm during those times.
Personal Reaction
This is a great story to tell, especially in a farm town like where I grew up. I think that it would be great to read even where there is no farming to show how much even current day farmers struggle.
Classroom Extension
1. Draw pictures of the things that we like to do in the winter with our families.
2. Go to a farm.
3. Break into groups and reenact the book.
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LibraryThing member jbarr5
The Winter Room
Enjoyed listening to this book about a boy as the seasons go by from the family farm in Minnesota.
Lots of topics. Interesting how they tend to the animals.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).
LibraryThing member fuzzi
The seasons of the year, as told first-person through the perspective of an eleven year old boy, living on a farm in northern Minnesota.The descriptions of what he associates with each season are not typical; several times I paused and thought over his view of what might be considered mundane
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tasks. Caution: he does describe the slaughter of farm animals for food in a slightly graphic manner, but did not revel in it. As tender-hearted as I am, I was able to handle it. Good read.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
A chronicle of a year in the life of two young brothers growing up on a farm. They learn some hard truths about the toll country living can take, along with the value of stories blended with family history. Farm life isn't sugar-coated here, but even the slaughter of animals in the fall is treated
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with respect and just the right amount of delicacy. A good introduction to what's it like growing up in the country for kiddos who don't have exposure to such things, plus a nice story for good measure.
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(83 ratings; 3.4)
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