Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sign of the Beaver” as Want to Read:
The Sign of the Beaver
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sign of the Beaver

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  25,847 Ratings  ·  1,346 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Matt is left on his own in the Maine wilderness while his father leaves to bring the rest of the family to their new settlement. When he befriends Attean, an Indian chief's grandson, he is invited to join the Beaver tribe and move north. Should Matt abandon his hopes of ever seeing his family again and go on to a new life?
Paperback, 135 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Dell (first published 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sign of the Beaver, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kahawihson usually bits of bone or rawhide, though I wouldn't be surprised if other First Nation's groups used porcupine quills. Remember for future reference…moreusually bits of bone or rawhide, though I wouldn't be surprised if other First Nation's groups used porcupine quills. Remember for future reference that when you use the phrase "indian" (which, by the way, is actually considered offensive. Generally we prefer that if you don't know the name of our particular nation, you just use "First Nations" or "Indigenous"), you're actually talking about hundreds of different peoples who all live in different places with different resources on hand, so people who lived around, say, the Eastern Woodlands of North America probably used different things to make sewing needles than people in the southwestern deserts. (less)
Maryam I'm not sure, they are both really amazing and great! I can't chose.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Aaron C
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Cindy Rollins
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: morningtime, 2017
For this category of book: Historical Fiction Mid-Elementary to Middle School this is a 5 Star book.

It is a great book to give a child who needs reading practice but likes good stories. I had my recent students
read it aloud to me and it was perfect for that also.

I have read it several times and still did not get bored this time around.

I would say this also qualifies as The Literature of Honor for Middle Boys which I have not put together yet.
Jun 27, 2008 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.
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this book years ago before I started my Goodreads account and added it to my shelves based on my long term memories of it, but I have lowered my original rating (from 4 stars to 2 stars) after reading several newer articles about its problematic misrepresentation of Native Americans. Please reference these articles in the comments below.
May 25, 2016 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.
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.
A quite enjoyable read for a Sunday afternoon. It's simple and easy, asking relevant questions for any young kid in elementary school. Historical without being too overwhelmingly detailed. Heartfelt and sincere without being too sappy. I feel like I read this back during my early homeschool days, but I've no memory of keeping the book, so I'd like to add this back to my shelves someday.
Jenna Kilpatrick
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jane Stewart
3 stars. Nice story for ages 10 and up.

It’s educational about surviving in the wild Indian style - and seeing a friendship develop between Indian boy Attean and Matt who is 12 years old. Attean’s grandfather wants Matt to teach Attean how to read and write in white man’s language. Attean teaches Matt how to trap, fish, make a bow and arrow, etc. I liked learning things that the Indians did.

It’s a pleasant read, but it didn’t excite me or surprise me the way “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen did. Hatch
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome book. I love reading books like this that show how friendships can develop even when you're of different cultures.
Jenna Petrillo
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I agree with Liam,this book was truly amazing!I also gave this book 5 stars!
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
It was a good book.It had these sad moments in the book,but the rest of it was good.If our you I would read this book.

p.s its historical fiction.
Joey Oborne
I liked this book the begining was "ok" but then it started to get way better!
I wanted to keep reading this book because all of us wanted to find out were his parents where they were WAIT! that would be a "spoiler alert" but you would know if you read the book.
Cynthia Egbert
I really enjoyed this adventure with Matt. I wish that my boys had been able to read this one when they were younger. This is just the type of book and hero that my guys love. If you have young men in your life, this would be a wonderful read-aloud together.
Apr 19, 2016 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
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Ana 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
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
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Connor Bowers
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 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...
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Andrew Smith
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
•••••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! •••••
Selah (abibliophilesstyle)
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.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
historical fiction 1 5 Jan 07, 2016 05:38PM  
  • Moccasin Trail
  • The Journeyman
  • Swift Rivers
  • Pedro's Journal
  • Walk The World's Rim
  • A Lion to Guard Us
  • Sing Down the Moon
  • The Great Turkey Walk
  • Calico Bush
  • Toliver's Secret
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble
  • North American Indians
  • By the Great Horn Spoon!
  • Phoebe the Spy
  • Skippack School
  • The Story of Eli Whitney
  • The Cabin Faced West
  • Om-Kas-Toe Blackfoot Twin Captures Elkdog
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
More about Elizabeth George Speare...

Share This Book

“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.” 5 likes
“pewter” 1 likes
More quotes…