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Extreme Environments: reading realistic fiction; The Adventures of Fisher 3


Read the two passages, then answer the practice question.

Fisher on Top of the World

  1. Before Dad and I traveled to the
    mountains in Peru, I barely ever thought about llamas, besides the ones printed on my favorite socks. That all changed after our time in the tierra helada, meaning “frozen place”.
  2. Bundled in the heaviest gear, we arrived in the village we’d be staying in. A severe storm had just blown through. People were scattered around, calling out down the slope in frightened tones. Dad and his translator went to investigate.
  3. “Fisher, come out and help. A llama got separated from the pack in the blizzard!” Dad said when they returned.
  4. Uncertain, I followed anyway. It must be so hard to live here, I thought. The ground is so steep and slick; it’s amazing everyone didn’t fall off the mountain. This was the coldest place I’d ever been to by far and I didn’t ever think I’d get warm again. We’d been traveling for months, so Dad could do research for his book, Living To the Extreme. At that moment, I was ready to go back to our very temperate climate in California.
  5. I ran to Dad’s side nonetheless. He was scanning the area with a set of binoculars.
  6. “Dad, I feel bad about the llama. But this kind of thing must happen all the time. It’s weird that people stay in such a harsh place,” I said.
  7. “People are more adaptable than you think," said Dad. "They build their cultures around where and how they live.” My dad's an anthropologist—that means he studies humans, and how our societies, cultures, and languages are similar and different around the world.
  8. His words made me think about our mountain journey. People did do a lot to survive. They grew certain crops according to where they lived. Then they bartered and sold them up and down the mountain—it’s called the vertical trade. Llamas were at the heart of it. Loaded down with bags of potatoes, coffee, or bananas, they were designed for the steep treks.
  9. As the wind shifted, I heard a soft bleating grow louder. I peered down to a cluster of rocks as a llama limped into view. I frantically pointed, shouting, “Over here!”
  10. Several villagers raced to the llama and carried it up as everyone cheered. Already, I was starting to warm up.

Fisher’s Trip Down Under

  1. I tossed my knapsack onto the hotel room floor and flopped onto the bed.
  2. “Ugh, jetlag,” I groaned. “Can we skip the tour?”
  3. For the past year, Dad and I had been bouncing around the world so he could research his book about living in extreme climates. Our latest stop was Coober Pedy, an Australian mining town and one of the hottest places in the world. Lately, I've felt kind of “meh” about traveling.
  4. “You know why we’re here, Fisher—to learn about how people live in their unique environments. You can’t do that from a hotel room,” Dad said.
  5. I pointed to the jagged stone ceiling.
  6. “Well, I just did. Right on the hotel website, it says the hotel, like most buildings here, is built underground because of the intense desert heat,” I said.
  7. “Okay, smarty, that’s a start,” Dad chuckled. “But facts are only a gateway to the real story. You have to get out to find the real flavor of a place. We could have fun too.”
  8. I didn’t want to upset Dad so I went anyway. That afternoon, we toured a kangaroo orphanage and then went inside the dugout where Ms. Hastings, the town historian, lived. She showed us a picture of the
    opal gemstone the area is famous for. I couldn't take my eyes off it.
  9. “That’s amazing,” I said.
  10. She laughed. “You’re not the only one to think that. Miners from more than 50 countries have come to find their fortunes here over the years. Many stayed for good. Any way they could, they made this place home,” she said. “Today, Coober has Chinese and pizza restaurants, olive groves from Greece, and a drive-in movie theater. You’ll have a great time here.”
  11. “Thanks so much for the tour—but I think Fisher wants to get back to the room for a bit,” Dad said.
  12. Dad was wrong though. I had gooey cheese, glittering gems, and more on my mind.
  13. “Dad, let’s—”
  14. “Keep going?”
  15. “Ok, ok, you were right,” I said, with a laugh. “This is much better than staying inside. Let’s get pizza.”
  16. As we set off, Ms. Hastings called, “Make sure to try the emu sausage.”
  17. We made sure we did. And for the next few days, I “tasted” as many flavors of Coober Pedy as I possibly could.

Practice Question

Compare and contrast the settings of the two stories.
Mark whether each row describes the setting of “Fisher On Top of the World”, “Fisher’s Trip Down Under”, or both stories.
“Fisher On Top of the World”
“Fisher’s Trip Down Under”
where people adapt to extreme climates
high in the mountains, icy and frigid
scorching desert heat