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Chickadee (The Birchbark House #4)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  436 Ratings  ·  110 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 (first published August 13th 2012)
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
46th out of 113 books — 1,226 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 BruchacStone Field by Christy Lenzi
Native Americans in Children's Literature
13th out of 114 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 19, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
Aug 16, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 28, 2012 Chelsea Couillard-Smith rated it really liked it
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
Jun 17, 2016 Kristy rated it really liked it
BOOK CHOICE #4 – Chickadee (The Birchbark House #4)
By Louise Erdrich

1) Rationale for selecting this book for your culturally diverse text set, with specific evidence to support its cultural significance:
I selected this book based on a recommendation from the American Indians in Children’s Literature webpage, an authority on Native texts. “Established in 2006, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children's and youn
This continues the familial tale begun three books ago in "The Birchbark House", but now Omakayas is the mother of twins, one of whom features in this novel. This tells the story of how the family ends up leaving the lake country of Minnesota and moving to the plains of Dakota. Here they need to learn a completely different lifestyle as none of their traditional plants and animals used for food and tools are available. Once again, Erdrich tells a well-drawn story with interesting characters that ...more
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
Stacy Countee
Mar 15, 2015 Stacy Countee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical-fic
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
Jul 23, 2012 GraceAnne rated it really liked it
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
Nov 11, 2016 James rated it it was amazing
Chickadee by Louise Erdrich. Birchbark House, The Game of Silence, The Porcupine Year, and next is Chickadee in the Birchbark House series for kids, yet interesting adults will encounter a story that is important, funny, and compelling. Louise Erdrich is my favorite American novelist.
Judy E.
Oct 17, 2016 Judy E. rated it really liked it
Chickadee is kidnapped and his family follows his trail to the Great Plains.
His twin Makoons becomes ill without him; Chickadee eludes his captors and searches for his family.
Lia Keriotis
This book touches on social issues and also empowers the reader when it talks about the main character being underestimated as well as the bird he was named after. But he was he rose above expectations showing the reader that they can accomplish anything despite what others might expect of them.
Oct 04, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing
How did I never read this before? This is lovely. It's very Little House, but from a Native American point of view, gentle and quiet but with moments of excitement, full of rich details and great characters. I'm so looking forward to Makoons now.
Oct 02, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I just can't get enough of this cycle. It reminds me of Little House on the Prairie from a native's perspective. Lovely, lyrical prose with interesting plot and characters that keeps me reading even when I should have gone to sleep.
Aug 19, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-august
“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
This is the fourth, and as far as I can tell, final book in the Birchbark House series. You don’t necessarily have to have read the other books to enjoy and follow this one (I have read the first, but not the middle two). The ending felt like it left some ends untied so maybe Erdrich plans on writing another in the series?

Chickadee is more of an adventure story than The Birchbark House, however it features many of the everyday life scenes and thoughts that made the first book so good. At times t
Emily Bates
Sep 17, 2016 Emily Bates rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg, own-voices
Almost didn't pick this up because I couldn't find the first book in the series, but this reads perfectly well as a standalone. Loved the story of Chickadee's adventures getting home to his family, as well as the beautifully written insights into Native culture.
Tom Helmick
Sep 16, 2016 Tom Helmick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is really a delightful read, one I recommended to both Jenny and Kate to read to their young ones. I particularly liked the reverence for the earth and for each other displayed throughout the story.
Rebecca Sofferman
Dec 27, 2012 Rebecca Sofferman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elementary
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 ...more
Aug 11, 2016 Brenna rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Tracie rated it liked it
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
Oct 13, 2014 Michale rated it really liked it
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 ...more
May 17, 2013 Roberta rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 11, 2015 Tineka rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Frances rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Theresa Malloy
Mar 16, 2016 Theresa Malloy rated it really liked it
This is one of Louise Erdrich's children's books. When I was checking out at the library, it was sitting there so I grabbed it. I guess it's the fourth book in her series, which is based on 100 years of her family history and oral storytelling. When I was little, my grandma got me a book about Pathki Nana. It was a Native American story, and I liked it. This one reminded me of it. It's the story of Chickadee, a boy who is kidnapped from his parents and twin brother. He sets back to find them ...more
Aug 25, 2013 Helen rated it it was ok
Shelves: waw-options
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 ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Barb Moore
Dec 30, 2012 Barb Moore rated it really liked it
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
Dec 19, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
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 ...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
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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 ...more
More about Louise Erdrich...

Other Books in the Series

The Birchbark House (5 books)
  • The Birchbark House
  • The Game of Silence
  • The Porcupine Year
  • Makoons

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