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The Sign of the Beaver Paperback – August 2, 2011 by Elizabeth George Speare (Author)

Tied right into our history lessons! We read this before we got to the time period in our history. .. made the history so lively and fun! My two kids really enjoyed the book. We read it aloud together. The parts where the book is written according to the dialect might be difficult for many children, but they loved listening to me read it while they followed along. Historically shows the two sides of the situation between the Native Americans and the pioneers. Very well done. The reader feels for both sides. I have read this book with many other children and they have all enjoyed it. Two children were English as a second language students. I think they struggled with the book more and I do not think their teacher should have assigned this book to them since English was already difficult. With my help, however, they enjoyed the book. It did, however, take quite a bit of explaining. .. It was tough to get through a chapter in an hour with these two students. However, a typical child who speaks English fluently would only need the explanations about content and why things occurred as they did. I HIGHLY recommend this book! Check it out!

Amazon.com Review When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family’s newly built homestead. One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome prejudice. The Sign of the Beaver was a Newbery Honor Book; author Elizabeth Speare has also won the Newbery Medal twice, for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow. (Ages 12 and older) –Richard Farr –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The Sign of the Beaver Paperback – August 2, 2011 by Elizabeth George Speare (Author) Review

This story begins when Matt’s father leaves him in768, in the wilds of Maine to over watch their newly built cabin and planted crops. Matt’s father is returning home to bring out his mother, sister, and the new baby. Matt is soon to be thirteen year old. He is ill prepared to the loneliness and responsibility of finishing chinking the cabin, growing and harvesting the crops, and getting wood to last the winter. Things take an ugly turn when a shiftless drifter stumbles upon Matt and steals his gun in the night, leaving Matt unable to shoot game for food. With only fish and berries, Matt is worried about surviving the forest alone. Circumstances bring an Indian chief and his grandson into Matt’s life. Matt makes a trade to teach the chief’s grandson to read in return for wild game from the Indian boy, Attean. Soon it is hard to determine who is teaching whom, as Matt and Attean face many adventures together learning Indian survival skills along the way. When Matt’s family does not return, Matt must make a decision of remaining behind by himself to await family that may not be coming or joining with the Indians where he can receive friendship, family, and protection. -Read Reviews-

I bought this and 2 other native american themed books (Extinction by Sean Hess which was very good and Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson which was excellent). I would say Sign of the Beaver is very good. This book is about a young boy who has to take care of his family’s homestead in colonial Maine when his father goes back to Massachusetts to get the rest of the family. The boy has his gun stolen by a vagabond. Hungry, the boy climbs a tree to steal a honeycomb from some bees. He is injured when the bees swarm him and he falls out of the tree. A Penobscot man and his son rescue the boy and nurse him back to health. In return for providing him food, the boy agrees to teach the Penobscot boy to read. They start with reading Robinson Crusoe, and the boy discovers he is more Friday than he is Crusoe, as the Penobscot boy teaches him to survive from the wild. As an adult I enjoyed this book but it is really geared for younger readers. It is very well written but lacks some of the extreme realism I found in the other two books I read.

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