The Georgia swamp emits a siren's song to 13-year-old Jack, and he sets off alone in the canoe he made himself. When it has an untimely encounter with an alligator, Jack has the perfect excuse to camp in the Okefenokee and test the survival skills he's learned from his Uncle Hamp. While there, a chance meeting puts his knowledge of himself and his family in a whole new light. Jack's survival tale oozes with details of living off the land, from his attempts to gather terpene to his various methods of catching fish and building shelter. The scenes describing the boy's self-sufficiency in the outdoors are reminiscent of Sam Gribley's in My Side of the Mountain (Turtleback, 1959). Jack's experience, however, is limited to a short time, and his skills are largely ready-made for his adventure. A subplot, in which Jack meets a boy who turns out to be his twin and discovers that he is adopted, adds a melodramatic twist that is uncharacteristic of the author.