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Chickadee (The Birchbark House #4)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  486 Ratings  ·  114 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
ebook, 224 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by HarperCollins (first published August 13th 2012)
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Sep 19, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
James R. C.
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.
Aug 19, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 felt a little bit like the Farmer Boy of the series, I guess mostly just because it's...about a boy. But also it has more of an active-adventurey plot compared to the more methodical earlier books?

Also since it's a new generation of the story I do think a reader could start with this one and skip the first three if they wanted something a little more plot-driven. (And then: get captivated by the characters and go back and read the first 3 after)!
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
Rebecca Sofferman
Dec 27, 2012 Rebecca Sofferman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2014 Brenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 17, 2013 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 11, 2015 Tineka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Emily Ross
Feb 08, 2017 Emily Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved reading all of the Birchbark house series, but this one was sadder than the others. I am glad I had already read Makoons to know how the story continues. I am excited for further installments!
Theresa Malloy
Mar 16, 2016 Theresa Malloy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2013 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rem ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Barb Moore
Dec 28, 2012 Barb Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 homelan ...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
Virginia Walter
Sep 25, 2012 Virginia Walter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Omakayas and Animikiins and their twin boys have a good life until Chickadee, one of the sons, is kidnapped. Family and friends, including the awesome woman, Two Strike, go in search of him. The resourceful little boy manages to get away from the two men who had taken him, find his Uncle Quill, and reconnect with his family, relocated now form the North woods to the Great Plains. As always with this series of books, much of the pleasure is derived from the details about the everyday life of this ...more
May 26, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I was given this novel for free through Goodreads First Reads. Louise Erdich has created a world for Ages 8-12 that transports them back to a simplier time and place in 1866. It is a story about Chickadee and his twin brother... the seperation they must face, and the Ojibwe families journey to reunite with each other again. A definate must have for todays generation to peer into what life must have been like for Native Americans back then. I have fallen in love with the Birchbark House series an ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Susie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wavered between 4 and 5 on this; it's a very sweet, subtle book. How refreshing that the plot is driven by a family acting out of love, even giving up their lifestyle for the sake of their missing son. I read this during the time of the NE blizzard, and it made me think what it must have been like to live "in the wild" under such conditions. There is gentle humor, and interesting detail to help the reader appreciate the means of survival. I wish I had realized there was a glossary in the back ...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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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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“It seemed to Chickadee that those houses held the powers of the world. The ones who built and lived in those houses were making an outsize world. An existence he'd never dreamed of. Almost a spirit world, but one on earth. Chickadee could see that they used up forests of trees in making the houses. He could see that they were pumping up the river and even using up the animals. He thought of the many animals whose dead hides were bound and sold in St. Paul in one day. Everything that the Anishinabeg counted on in life, and loved, was going into this hungry city mouth. This mouth, this city, was wide and insatiable. it would never be satisfied, thought Chickadee dizzily, until everything was gone.” 0 likes
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