Marika Gillis's Reviews > The Sign of the Beaver

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
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's review
Apr 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: battle-of-the-books, childrens-chapter-books, historical-fiction, newbery-award-winning-books, books-to-share-with-ds
Read from January 25 to 29, 2011 , read count: 2

After Matt and his father have built a cabin in the wilderness of Maine, Matt's father returns to Massachusetts to get the rest of the family, and Matt is left alone to protect and care for their home until they return.

Matt finds that surviving on his own is more difficult than he expected. A stranger steals his only rifle, a bear ransacks his home, and when Matt is attacked by a swarm of bees he is rescued by an elderly Indian chief, Saknis, and his grandson, Attean. As payment for their help, Matt agrees to teach Attean English, a skill his grandfather hopes will prove useful as the Indian tribe barters with the English for the land on which they reside. Unenthusiastically, Attean arrives each morning for his English lessons and the boys begin a reluctant friendship.

When Matt's father has not returned weeks after he had promised, Saknis and Attean invite Matt to join their Indian tribe as they move west to new hunting grounds. Matt must decide whether to wait alone in the wilderness for his family's return or travel west with the Indian tribe who have become like a new family to him.

As I began reading this short historical novel, I quickly realized that I had read it once before. Although, I cannot remember where or when I read the story of Matt and Attean, memories of their forged friendship emerged as I dug into this book. It was a wonderful easy read, even the second time around, and would be a terrific book to teach character development.

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