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The Sign of the Beaver

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,766 Ratings  ·  1,147 Reviews
In 18th century Maine, twelve-year-old Matt is left alone in the wilderness to guard the new homestead while his father travels to collect the rest of the family. He’s brave, but has never had to face such a big challenge on his own. When Matt is attacked by a swarm of bees, an Indian chief and his grandson, Attean, come to the rescue. Matt is eager to repay their kindness ...more
Audiobook, 135 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Listening Library (first published 1983)
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Aaron C
May 06, 2010 Aaron C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my book, Sign of the Beaver, Matt an English teenage settler befriends and Indian named Attean. I found this book interesting because during this time the English and the Indians had a relationship that could best be described as fighting.
I couldn’t get over the fact that Matt seemed to be realizing slowly that he wasn’t just bonding with Attean but slowly growing the relationship of a friend. Once Matt started to get to know Attean, through Attean’s father, the boys started to do things toge
...more
Tima
Jun 23, 2012 Tima rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: early readers, beginners, 2nd grade
Recommended to Tima by: My 3rd grade teacher
When I read this book at a much younger age, I adored it. Let's be real, I probably had an unrealistic crush on the fictional Attean. Tall, dark, handsome, strong, intelligent, good with hands... ;)

Alright, alright so he is 14 in this book, but I was merely a young lass enamored with the idea of a gorgeous Native American boy to sweep me off my feet.


Now about the book itself... It is an easy read for 2nd-5th graders, I would say. It doesn't teach much but the plot is catching enough that young r
...more
Sasha
Jun 27, 2008 Sasha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Shayne-Train
Both my daughter and I found this book captivating. We're both fans of Native American stories, and of stories of survival. We got both with this one.

Highly recommended for younger readers with a taste for pioneer-life fiction.
Jenna Kilpatrick
This book was very detailed that almost made the book way more interesting. When I found out that the book was based off of an actual story (well mostly) I was shocked with surprise because I usually HATE with a capital H.A.T.E Historical Fiction. The ending of this book took me by surprise because Ben never came back and take something else like Matt's fishing line. He is such a mysterious character that the was surprise to me.
midnightfaerie
Apr 19, 2016 midnightfaerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, classics
For my 8-yr old son's school, every year he gets a list of like 20 books he can choose from, and has to read around 4-5 and do a book report on them. I usually make him read them all. (Except evil ones like Old Yeller) This year, I realized there were many I hadn't read, or hadn't read in a very long time, so I'm working my way through them so we can enjoy them together. After he's read them, we plan on having movie nights for those that have movies.

This is the first one I read. I'd never read
...more
 Pat
Sep 08, 2012 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an awesome book. I love reading books like this that show how friendships can develop even when you're of different cultures.
Scarlett Sims
Ok. I had heard various Native American reviewers pan this book for its stereotypical portrayals. I'm still not that great at evaluating Native American literature but I'll list some things that stuck out to me:
1. Usage of the word squaw. I'm pretty sure that's generally not ok.
2. Going off #1, Speare gives the impression that women were not valued in "Indian" culture.
3. I don't think a tribe name is ever mentioned. The Indians are referred to and refer to themselves as "Indians." (from context
...more
Kate
Jan 24, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond since I was about twelve, but I had somehow never read The Sign of the Beaver. A teacher friend outed me for not having read it in front of her whole class of fifth graders, so then I clearly had no choice. And it was good! It's no Witch, but very few things could be. This is aimed at a slightly younger audience, and it's about a boy and rather more action-oriented.

13-year-old Matt and his father have traveled to the Maine wilderness to build a homestead; t
...more
Sue
Apr 10, 2010 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place in the year 1768, in what will eventually become the state of Maine. Matt, a twelve-year-old boy is left alone in the wilderness while his father leaves to bring back the rest of his family. He must use skills he learns from the Indians who live nearby in order to survive. When Matt meets Attean, a young Indian boy about his own age, they grow together into manhood. As the boys become friends each learns important skills from the others’ culture. Matt becomes a skilled hun ...more
Bill
Oct 27, 2013 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A children's book that doesn't pretend to be more than it is--the fairly tame story of a 12-year-old boy left alone in the wild frontier of Maine. He is befriended by and learns from a neighboring tribe of native Americans.
Written in 1984, "Sign of the Beaver" is a bit dated in the way it portrays the native Americans and their pidgin English, but still offers a sympathetic portrait of their plight as white settlers push them from their hunting grounds.
In one especially clever stroke, the Newbe
...more
Penny
Nov 11, 2013 Penny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, childrens
This is a wonderful book by the Newberry award winning author Elizabeth George Speare. It tells of a family who make a claim for land in Maine. The father and their son (about 14) go out to the claim and built a small log cabin. The father then leaves the boy there to keep hold of the claim whilst he goes back to collect his wife and younger children. Nothing goes as the father plans and the boy is left alone far longer than was intended.

He is befriended by a small group of Indians and is taught
...more
Liam
May 25, 2016 Liam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought the Sign of the Beaver was a five star book because there was so much action that made you wonder will he make it or something else. We read this book during class. It had so many wondering moments like " Will Matts parents make it back to sleep the cabin?" That's why I gave this book the amazing five stars because it was one of the best books I have read.
Ana Maria Rînceanu
The author tried to do show that the boys could be friends and Matt ends up rejecting some of his prejudices against Native Americans, but I really had a hard time understanding why Matt used slang words and why the Indians call themselves Indians. Aren't they supposed to refer to their tribe?

I didn't feel like I learned a lot about Attean or the tribe so I'm a little confused as to how he and Matt became "brothers". The fact that Matt refers to Attean as his "Indian brother" to his sister is a
...more
Breanna
Read this book as part of the kids curriculum and we all really enjoyed it. It's rare that my kids ask me to keep going when I finish a chapter. I love teaching history through stories and this was a great insight into what life was like for both settlers and for the native american indians, without being particularly biased either way. It was hard to live back then, and it gave both my kids and myself an appreciation for what it took to establish this country and to survive. We also did a few a ...more
Megan
Nov 28, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Recommended to Megan by: Mrs. Messman
WOW!!! Awsome book! I read it as a school requirement, all night. It's a shorter book but has so much meaning you really have to think about what Matt (Main Character) goes through.

In the very beggining of the book you find out that Matt who has lived in Massachussetts all his life, now has to move to the Territory of Maine (Takes place in the late 1700's) Together Matt and his dad build a cabin, plant crops and set up their land. It is then that Matt is told by his father that he'll be left alo
...more
Julie Bennett
Jun 22, 2010 Julie Bennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-set
Totally a guy book. But, as a girl reading it, I must say that I stayed interested the whole time! Matt and his father, in the 18th century, go to Maine to get everything ready for his mother and sister's arrival such as building the log cabin and planting crops. But Matt's father must go back to get the girls and Matt is left alone in the cabin for the time. Things happen that he can't control and he must learn how to deal with these things until finally some local Indians have pity on him and ...more
Jeremy
Mar 06, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story of a young man left to dfend his family's new homestead in Maine as his father travels back to MA to bring back his mother and siblings. During his time alone, he is comes to depend on the Native inhabitants of the region and learns about cultural differences between them.
Aaliyah
Jan 19, 2015 Aaliyah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
•••••This was an amazing book! I loved it! I was very surprised with the way this book went. I must say 5 stars and this is coming from a girl who hates historical fiction history nonfiction.. ect but this was so intense and I was just really surprised the way this turned out! •••••
Connor Bowers
Apr 30, 2015 Connor Bowers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book if you love to read about hunting and adventures. You will be left hanging at the end of chapters and you will want to keep reading until the end. The ending is very shocking but very realistic. I would definitely recommend this book!
Masoomeh Tavakoli
Jun 07, 2013 Masoomeh Tavakoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Masoomeh by: بشری
ترجمه پروین علی پور را خوانده ام (با عنوان در سرزمین سرخپوست) و همان را هم توصیه می کنم
(ترجمه ی دیگر متعلق به نسرین وکیلی است که نشر قطره منتشرش کرده)
خیلی حرف دارم درباره اش که بعدا سر فرصت باید بیایم این جا بنویسمشان...
Selah
An adventure story set against the backdrop of the French and Indian War (Seven Years War). I appreciated how fair the author was to both "sides". She didn't glorify or demonize either party.
Rizal
Sep 29, 2015 Rizal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen
As a child, this book had a profound influence on me. I remember totally being inter-meshed in the world painted by Speare. I even think the book led me to study Native American history. Looking back on it know, this book has many problems even though it does some things well and is very well written. While George does challenge the reader to look at the world from Native's perspectives, most obviously when Matt, her hero, challenges his understanding of who is the real outdoors-man the European ...more
Nicola Mansfield
It's the mid-1700s and Matt and his father have built a cabin in the Maine wilderness. His father must go back and bring the rest of the family back to their new home, leaving Matt on his own to look after their property and crop. Matt soon learns it's not easy to take care of yourself and an Indian comes to his rescue. A deal is made with the man and Matt agrees to teach the Indian's grandson to read the white man's scratching in exchange for food. As the story progresses Matt learns more from ...more
Mr. Stubbart's Classroom Library
Jun 03, 2011 Mr. Stubbart's Classroom Library rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a historically rich book that takes place during the 1760's just after the French and Indian War. The young main character, Matt, and his father travel up to Maine to turn their land into a farm and to build a home. Matt and his father finish the cabin and Matt is left behind by his father so he can go back to fetch his family and bring them back. This is terrifying for Matt since he will be left alone all winter. Let's just say he has a lot to learn both about himself and about survivin ...more
Jennifer
2.5 stars

This book was a well-written and entertaining boy-coming-of-age-in-nature story in the same genre as books like My Side of the Mountain, Summer of the Monkeys, and Where the Red Fern Grows. However, since it as copyrighted in 1983, and concerns Indians, I couldn't help but be wary of it, especially considering that it is a Newbery Honor book that I remember was required reading for most 4th graders when I was in elementary school. While the portrayal of Native Americans in The Sign of t
...more
Swankivy
This well-written children's book did a great job showing what life was like for early American settlers and what kinds of relationships they were capable of having with the American Indians when they cooperated. This depicted a young boy who was asked to hold down the fort all by himself--I think he was about twelve years old--in a gesture of trust and a weight of responsibility that would never be put on a kid in our time. The child is able to hold his own once he accepts help from an Indian b ...more
♡Kellin♡
WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS EXTREME ACTS OF STUPIDITY.
First of all, let me just say that it was not my choice to read this book. Hatred cannot even describe my feelings of disdain for this novel!! Who leaves their kid in the middle of a forest to guard the cabin when there's bears roaming around and things that could probably eat him alive? A STUPID FREAKING FATHER THATS WHAT. And let's talk about the Indian boy. WHAT THE HECK? Racist.
Emily Birecki
Oct 31, 2011 Emily Birecki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my genre of literature. When I first started this book I thought to myself "here is another manly story about survival", but I was pleasantly surprised. The themes of equality, friendship, bravery, self discovery, and many more make this novel difficult to put down. I think that this would be an awesome story to read aloud to a class of any age, even adults. It deals with pride, insecurity, and even humility. It goes to show that when we are humble, we can learn so much from each oth ...more
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7549
I was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1908. I have lived all my life in New England, and though I love to travel I can't imagine ever calling any other place on earth home. Since I can't remember a time when I didn't intend to write, it is hard to explain why I took so long getting around to it in earnest. But the years seemed to go by very quickly. In 1936 I married Alden Speare a ...more
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“The two boys stood and looked at each other. There was no amusement and no scorn in Attean's eyes. How very strange, Matt thought. After all the brave deeds he had dreamed of doing to win this boy's respect, he had gained it at last by doing nothing, just by staying here and refusing to leave.” 2 likes
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