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Chickadee (The Birchbark House)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  314 ratings  ·  90 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
208 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (first published August 13th 2012)
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Newbery 2013
45th out of 111 books — 1,181 voters
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellThe Birchbark House by Louise ErdrichMarch Toward the Thunder by Joseph BruchacThe Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich
Native Americans in Children's Literature
7th out of 82 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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.

Chelsea Couillard-Smith
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
Stacy Countee
Twin brothers named Omakayas and Chickadee grew up doing everything together since birth. However, everything takes a turn for the worse when Chickadee gets kidnapped by missionaries because of a bad prank. The story follows Chickadee as he grow and matures over time. In order for Chickadee to not become a servant, he must escape. It is interesting to see how he provides a life for himself in his quest to find his way back home.

This story is well written and teaches about survival and family. Th
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
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
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
I read this aloud to my daughter after reading the Little House on the Prairie books. It is told from the POV of a Native American family during the same time period as the Little House books. This book follows twin boys (10 yrs old?) during a difficult and transitional time for the family. The historical setting provided opportunity for us to talk about attitudes (racism, religion, etc) and events (missionary schools, land ownership, etc) from that time period. It is book 4 in a series, so I th ...more
Miles Pretel
Chickadee is the fourth book in the birch bark house series written by Louise Erdrich. It is about Omakayas sons Chickadee and his twin Makoons, Most of the old characters are in the book but older. When Chickadee gets kidnaped by two brothers to become their servant Chickadee must escape while his family tracks down the brothers.

I think that this is the best book in the series because it adds more characters and it is like they started a new series, but in the same world. I would recommend this
“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
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
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.
"Chickadee" is a Scott O'Dell Award Winner. What I loved about this book was that it fit into a niche in history that I had not visited. I found the relationship of the brothers, the love of family, and the courage of Chickadee, who discovers who he is to be central. And I always love a hint of the supernatural. Erdrich also portrays the characters in a fair and balanced way.
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
Shanice Duncan
Chickadee tells the story of Chickadee and his brother Makoons who are twins. one chickadee is kidnapped by missionaries in order for chickadee to escape a life of servitude he must runaway. chickadee is a beautiful , powerful story about a boy maturing quest to finds his way back home.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Historical fiction, fourth book in the Birchbark series. Adventure about a young boy in 1800s who is stolen from his family.
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 story that takes place in 1866 in the homelan ...more
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
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
ARC received from 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
Nov 28, 2014 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014, kids
I really enjoyed this installment in the birchbark series. I am hopeful my students will, too.
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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
More about Louise Erdrich...

Other Books in the Series

The Birchbark House (4 books)
  • The Birchbark House
  • The Game of Silence
  • The Porcupine Year
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