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The Sign of the Beaver

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  27,530 Ratings  ·  1,474 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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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)
Janell Schaak The current version that we are using for homeschool has an introduction about this very issue. He addresses the accuracies as well as the…moreThe current version that we are using for homeschool has an introduction about this very issue. He addresses the accuracies as well as the shortcomings (using a common trope for the plot, using stereotypes of both how native people would speak the English language as well as stereotypes of native words, etc.) That being said, the intro ends with this paragraph: "However, if one brings to the book a deeper understanding of the period and the native culture that Speare attempted to depict, The Sign of the Beaver has much to recommend it to twenty-first-century readers. The author clearly hoped that we might all learn from each other as did Matt and Attean. At its best, this book is a useful lesson meant to teach the importance of seeing other humans - no matter how different - as beings worthy of respect."(less)
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Julie
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the time of the American Revolution and new Americans like Matt and his family are heading out to colonize areas of virgin territory.

Matt and his father head to Maine territory to stake their claim, which involves declaring their land, building a home and planting crops. Once they've accomplished this, Matt's father is tasked with returning to their home town in Massachusetts to gather Ma, younger sister Sarah, and the new baby, so they may start their lives together in their new home.

In or
...more
Tima
May 17, 2012 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
Aaron C
Apr 08, 2010 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
Cindy Rollins
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.
Donalyn
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.
Sasha
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.
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.
Liam
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.
Kris
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.
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
...more
Chris
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a kid. Fourth grade maybe, it's hard to remember. All I remember is that I loved it. I loved anything about survival in the wilderness. I had wanted to run away with my dog into the woods as a kid and recall reading this voraciously. I would like to re-read it for my inner-child.
 Pat
Sep 08, 2012 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.
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!
Amelia
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really good the only thing i did not like is that I thought the ending was weird because all that Matt did was tell his parents about Attean I thought it was going to be a little bit more of exiting ending then that. So i gave this book 4 STARS!
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
Madissen
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.
Kim
When Matt's father goes to fetch his mother and siblings from Quincy, Massachusetts, he leaves Matt alone on their new homestead in Maine. Before long, Matt has met a few people, and forms a significant relationship with Attean, a Penobscot boy, and his grandfather. The grandfather's original intent is for Matt to teach Attean to read, but before long it becomes clear that Attean is the teacher rather than Matt, and that without the input of Attean and his grandfather, Matt's survival would have ...more
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.
Ava
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Jacob
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A 12 year old boy named Matt is moving into the forest with his family. He and his father went there early to build a cabin while his mom and sisters stayed home. His father has to leave him alone for multiple weeks so he can go get Matt's mom and sister. His father left and Matt had to fend for himself. When he was fishing one day a bear came into his cabin and ate everything. Matt saw a bee’s nest and tried to steal honey, he got stung and fainted. Then an Indian found him and gave him medici ...more
midnightfaerie
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
...more
William
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, classics
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
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
...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 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
Connor Bowers
Apr 16, 2015 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!
معصومه توکلی
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to معصومه 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...
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historical fiction 1 5 Jan 07, 2016 05:38PM  
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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.” 6 likes
“pewter” 1 likes
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