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Chickadee (The Birchbark House)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Chickadee is the first novel of a new arc in the critically acclaimed Birchbark House series by New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich.

Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have done everything together since they were born—until the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated.

Desperate to reunite, bot...more
208 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
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Newbery 2013
45th out of 116 books — 1,106 voters
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18th out of 36 books — 8 voters


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Community Reviews

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Debbie
With immense satisfaction and a deep sigh, I read the last words in Louise Erdrich's Chickadee and then gazed at the cover. Chickadee is the fourth book in her Birchbark House series, launched in 1999.

My copy arrived yesterday afternoon and I immediately began reading--but not racing--through Chickadee, because it is written with such beauty, power, and elegance that I knew I'd reach the end and wish I could go on, reading about Omakayas and her eight-year-old twin boys, Chickadee and Makoons.

Th...more
Wendy
Should probably be three stars, because I didn't like this book at all at first; I thought it was a jumble up until the main thrust of the plot starts, when Chickadee is kidnapped. Neither the plot threads, the setting, nor the characters kept me engaged. The writing felt overly expository. But then, once the story starts! The book reads very quickly, too quickly; I wanted to keep reading it for hours, and can't wait for the next book in the series.

This isn't the lovely, complete book The Porcup...more
Barbara
The books of Louise Erdrich always make me feel as though I am soaking comfortably in a warm bath, easing my troubles away. As with all her titles, this fourth one that continues the Birchbark House series did not disappoint me. Although she chooses her words carefully, slowly building her characters and revealing her book's plot, she does so deftly and sensitively, drawing readers into the family's inner circle, and making us laugh, weep, and hold our breaths to see what will happen. The story...more
Chelsea
I only read the first book in this series, The Birchbark House, so I pretty much read this as a stand alone novel. I also have a personal reason to love this book - I spent much of childhood in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota on Lake Superior, and twice worked with the Anishinabe community there. Now that I live in CA, reading this was a lot like going home.

I really appreciated the way in which Erdrich has written a historical fiction novel that is still accessible to its audience. The rich cu...more
GraceAnne
I have taught this series since The Birchbark House along with Little House on the Prairie in my Female Voices in Historical Narratives class. Erdrich's language is so fresh and direct, the stories so engaging, we have come to love this family and feel their many travails. This one's focus is on Omykayas' twin sons, and how the family moves from the forests to the plains. I was especially taken - again, as in all the other books - with her clear depiction of the spirit world and its place in the...more
Brenna
I LOVED the first three books in this series. However, I was disappointed by this one. First of all, I was upset by the decision to move from the forest to the prairie. The logic the characters gave for the move seemed weak at best. I didn't feel it fit with the spirit of, or the ideas presented in, the previous books. Then, the direction Chickadee's journey took seemed very unlikely. There was too much coincidence and not enough "boy in the forest relying on his own skills". The Red Road carava...more
Jenn
“Chickadee”, the latest in Erdrich’s Birchbark House series, introduces us to twins Chickadee and Makoons. They are mischievous and energetic, and completely devoted to each other. However, their high spirits land them in trouble when a prank goes awry and Chickadee is stolen away from his brother and family to be a servant. Determined to find each other, both Chickadee and his mourning family set out to find their way back to each other, encountering missionaries, fur trappers, new settlements...more
Rebecca Buerkett
This is the fourth book in the Birchbark House series, a story about a family of Ojibwe Indians in the 1800s. This story follows Chickadee, one of the twin sons of Omakayas, the original main character in the stories. It begins as the family gathers at their spring sugaring camp in Lake of the Woods (Canada). Chickadee is stolen from the camp by two brutish traders, who take him south into the Great Plains of Minnesota to be their slave. Fortunately, Chickadee is able to escape, but it takes tim...more
Michale
Erdrich again turns Wilder's Little House series on its head, with her descriptions of maple sugar making, dancing, and jigging providing a counterpoint to Wilder's description of the same in Little House in the Big Woods. Don't get me wrong, Wilder's books sustained me as a child, but part of that fascination was the unspoken understanding that these people had created something unique by carving a new territory and civilization out of the American wilderness. Erdrich reminds us that much of w...more
Tracie
In 1866, two ne-er-do-well brothers from his own Ojibwe tribe kidnap Chickadee from his family's spring sugaring camp and try to make him their servant. Chickadee travels from Canada to the Great Plains of Minnesota with his kidnappers, all the while missing the comforts of home, the love of his family, and the companionship of his twin brother, Makoons. Chickadee bravely summons the courage to plot his escape and begin the harrowing journey home; meanwhile, Chickadee's family sets out on their...more
Amy Anderson
I just finished reading this beautiful book with my 9 year old daughter tonight and we can't wait to read "Makoons"! This series has helped me to imagine the lives of indigenous people in the upper Midwest during western expansion better than anything else I have read. Louise Erdrich has obviously done her research and put it into this touching series that has my daughter cheering to read the next chapter. This series should be included in social studies curriculums in schools everywhere.
Roberta
Chickadee is a charming chapter book for kids 8-12. It is the 4th in a series called Birchbark House about an Ojibwe family with twins--Chickadee and Makoons or Little Bear. I think twins who read it would especially understand the strong connection between these two boys, especially when one of them is kidnapped. The setting in the woodlands and later on the Great Plains is in the area of St. Paul, Minnesota in 1866. The story includes many words from the Ojibwe language; there is even a glossa...more
Lauren Hon
I thought of this book as an amazing book because its historical fiction. I actually learned something in this book. I also made a bookmark, summary, and published the summary to my school newspaper saying that I recommended this book to third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
Tessa Eger
Some grotesque parts, but interesting and good story nonetheless. If you have a weak stomach, skip the part where Chickadee is held captive by the brothers. The food is pretty revolting. The story of the carts and the mosquitoes is fascinating. 3.5
Frances
This is my first return to Omakayas and her family since reading The Birchbark House. Erdrich is a storyteller, through and through, and even children who aren't captured by the plot should be drawn in by the rich setting and well-developed characters. The seamless integration of Ojibwe culture and details of daily life are fascinating, and the story is a good blend of action, humor, and sweetness. It's a bit of a shame that the flowery cover will put off boys. Despite the main character being a...more
Wendy
Jun 28, 2014 Wendy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: karla
I really enjoyed reading the story of the Indian family and how they stuck together to bring back one of their own.

2012 Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
2014-2015 Virginia Reader's Choice
Joeydag
A wonderful story set in 1866 Minnesota. Chickadee is one of twin brothers of a native american family. He is separated from his brother and we follow his adventures in rejoining his family. Young and old readers will enjoy the comedy and the historical aspects. I enjoyed it so much I'm looking for the first three episodes in this series, The Birchbark House.
Barb Moore
Great storytelling, engaging characters, gives a solid sense of the people and setting of the northern plains in the 1860s. Omakaya is grown and married, and has twin sons, Chickadee and Makoons. They choose to live in a more isolated area to avoid the diseases that the French traders have brought, but when they gather with others for the maple sugar harvest, Chickadee is stolen and taken into the plains territory by two brutish brothers, who want to make him their servant. As the entire family,...more
Debbie
A very enjoyable read. Erdrich's strength in this novel is her depiction of 19th-century Native American life. This would be a great historical fiction book for students interested in Native Americans.
Kate
Nov 16, 2012 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th-7th graders
I have not read the other books in the Birchbark House series, but that was not a problem. This reads as a stand alone. Historical information about the Ojibwe fills much of the story but this is mainly a story of family and adventure when a boy, Chickadee, is kidnapped and he and his family, including his twin brother, try to find each other again. The characters are well developed, although I was confused at times with who was who. The glossary at the end is useful although I didn't refer to i...more
Sahira Joshi
It was a great story about a daring rescuing warrior family who traveled far away from their homes to protect the little yet mighty Chickadee.
Helen
I was disappointed in this historical fiction possible WAW nominee. It is the 4th book in the Birchbark House series, but that wasn't the problem. A map of the story is included at the front of the book and I tried to follow it but the story just didn't work with the map! So that bothered me as well as some conflicting info in the story. It's about twin Ojibwe boys who are separated when one of them is kidnapped. The whole family moves to the plains in their search for the missing boy as the rem...more
Joanna
A wonderful little book for younger/middle grade readers. 2012 is the year of Louise Erdrich (This book already won the 2012 Scott ODell Award for historical fiction and her adult novel The Round House won the Nat Book Award). This would be a nice companion to students reading Little House books as it offers another experience of a fascinating family moving through the northern woods/plains.

Adding: This is the first book in this series (this is #4) that I have read and didn't feel that I needed...more
Kelley
ARC received from Goodreads.com Giveaway

"Chickadee" is Book 4 in the Birchbark House Series by Louise Erdrich. I found the book very well-researched and well-written. Chickadee is one of a set of twins who is kidnapped from his family's home in the middle of the night. The kidnappers think it's OK to take him because his family has two who look the same. This is the story of Chickadee making his way back to his family. He has many adventures and meets some spirits who help him. This would be a g...more
Barbara
How would you feel if you were stolen away in the night from your twin brother, your best friend since birth? In this exciting fourth installment in the Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich, Chickadee struggles valiantly to be reunited with his twin and family. He cleverly escapes from his not-so-bright kidnappers, is found by some missionaries and has to escape again when they want to clean him up, which includes cutting of his long braids! This is a story of wilderness survival, humor, and...more
Clay
Aug 28, 2012 Clay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Karin
Shelves: elementary
Twins Chickadee and Makoons are separated when Chickadee is kidnapped, subsequently escapes and must survive on his own. Chickadee has many adventures and must use all his wits and the wiles of his ever-present namesake the chickadee to survive and, he hopes, find his searching family and his ailing twin.

Another fine addition to Louise Erdrich's Birchbark House series, the back cover says this book is "launching a new arc," so it looks like we'll have many more of these to look forward to in th...more
Heather
Feb 16, 2014 Heather marked it as to-read
2013 Scott O'Dell Award Winner
Deedee
Lexile 800L.
Find in Juv. section of library.
Nancy
This is the 4th book of the Birchbark House series. This series has been said to be the Native American counterpart to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. In this entry, Omakayas's son Chickadee is kidnapped and the family set off to find him. He manages to escape from the Ojibwe camp but he is not safe yet. He is taken in by a kind priest in an English settlement. But he finds that the rest of the village may not be so accepting. As his family searches for him, they must leave their old...more
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Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa). She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renais...more
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