Chanelle laughed. "You'd never have the guts to get near a polar bear in real life. And you'd never travel that far. You the mamma's boy, I hear." But Chanelle is wrong. Alvin has more guts than even he realizes. And he isn't a mamma's boy. In fact, when his over protective mother goes too far, he leaves home. Where can Alvin go, though? He heads north. He will follow in the footsteps of his hero -- Matthew Henson, the bold Arctic explorer. Alvin will prove that he can take care of himself. Alvin will go north to the deadly cold; north to terrifying, frozen windy expanses, where it's easy to get lost even near shelter; north to polar bears and wolves; north to himself. . . .
Tired of his mother's overprotectiveness and intrigued by the life of African American explorer Matthew Henson, twelve-year-old Alvin travels north and spends a season with a trapper near the Arctic Circle.