Fifteen-year-old Wil must move with his parents to a small rural town in Northern Wisconsin when his father transfers to a new job.
Keeping mostly to himeself, Wil discovers a small lake while bicycling on the back roads near his home. There he finds an abandoned minnow boat that he rows to an island in the middle of the lake.
On the island, Wil discovers the wonders of nature and sits mesmerized by the different island inhabitants: cranes, turtles, frogs and fish. He is drawn to the island and decides that he wants to stay on the island until he learns everything the island has to teach him.
He begins camping on the island, despite his parents protests, and is visited at first only by Susan, another fifteen-year-old who has befriended Wil and helps him with his dream.
Along the way in this coming of age story, Wil is visited by his parents, the town bully, a reporter and eventually even the television media bent on telling his story.