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Chickadee (The Birchbark House #4)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  382 Ratings  ·  99 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 — 1,215 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
8th out of 86 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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
Feb 19, 2014 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 carava ...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 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
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 wit ...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
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
Rebecca Buerkett
Dec 27, 2012 Rebecca Buerkett 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 tim ...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 w ...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
Amy Anderson
May 11, 2014 Amy Anderson rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 02, 2015 Michele rated it really liked it
"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.
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 glossa ...more
Jun 14, 2016 Laurann rated it really liked it
I love the way Louise Erdrich writes. This children's story is beautifully told. When Chickadee is taken from his family they try to find their way back together. With Anishinaabe words throughout, it is a wonderful look into the past and the Anishinaabe culture. I really enjoyed it.
Shanice Duncan
Mar 29, 2015 Shanice Duncan rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2014 Lauren Hon rated it it was amazing
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.
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 a ...more
Jun 28, 2014 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
Jan 23, 2014 Joeydag rated it really liked it
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.
Elizabeth Kenitz
Nov 22, 2015 Elizabeth Kenitz rated it really liked it
Interesting book! I really liked the insight into Native American culture, and the characters. Erdrich had beautiful description that made me see the setting and characters very clearly. The illustrations were also a ton of fun. Good read!
Nov 17, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it
This is a set of books that I would have loved as a kid, and appreciate tremendously as an adult reader, parent, human interested in accurate histories and stories.
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
Oct 23, 2015 Alice rated it liked it
Cute story of a Native American boy who is separated from his family and has adventures as he makes his way back to them.

Recommended for ages 10 and up
Feb 01, 2014 Debbie rated it really liked it
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.
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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 (5 books)
  • The Birchbark House
  • The Game of Silence
  • The Porcupine Year
  • Makoons

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