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The Sign of the Beaver [Paperback]

Elizabeth George Speare
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition CDN $4.61  
Hardcover CDN $9.54  
Paperback CDN $8.54  
Paperback, July 1 1984 --  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged CDN $12.24  

Book Description

July 1 1984
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?

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From Amazon

When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family's newly built homestead. One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome prejudice. The Sign of the Beaver was a Newbery Honor Book; author Elizabeth Speare has also won the Newbery Medal twice, for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow. (Ages 12 and older) --Richard Farr --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Elizabeth George Speare's acclaimed, captivating historical novel (BDD) set in the 1700s receives a fresh treatment here, thanks to narrator Greg Schaffert's fine, crystal clear narration that brings the story to life. Speare's evocative tale tells of the mutually beneficial friendship that develops between Matt, a 13-year-old white boy living alone in the wilderness, and Attean, a proud Native American on the verge of manhood. Matt is guarding his family's newly built cabin while his father travels to retrieve Matt's mother and sister. Attean saves Matt's life after a terrifying bee attack (beautifully brought to life by both Speare and Schaffert). The two become reluctant pals: Matt teaches Attean how to read, and Attean shows Matt how to hunt, set traps and gather. Soon Matt must make a choice: join Attean's tribe or wait for his family to return. Speare's Newbery Honor winner is a good adventure story that will hook those interested in survival stories. It will also serve multicultural collections.
Brian E. Wilson, Oak Lawn Public Library, IL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderful read-aloud book to children ages 6 to 12 or so. I read it to three grandsons, and they were entranced by it. I think it would be nice for girls too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A light and encouraging read. March 17 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A light and enlightening tale of the courage of youth and the possibilities toward camaraderie between races. An enjoyable read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Survival story at its finest!! Dec 24 2011
By Darlene TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I read this book aloud to my children. It has won several literary awards, including: 1984 Newbery Honor, 1984 Scott O'Dell Award, and 1988 Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award Nominee.

Wow, what an adventure! I love survival stories like this.

The story takes place in 1769 and involves a 12 year-old boy named Matt. Matt's father has bought land in a new township in Maine, and the two of them have been building their new log-cabin home as well as planting crops. Matt's mother, sister, and new baby stayed behind in Massachusetts while the "men" got things set-up for the family's permanent move to Maine.

During the summer of 1769, Matt's father makes the trek back to Massachusetts to bring the rest of the family to the new home in Maine. It is expected that it will take six to seven weeks, round-trip. Matt is left in charge of the home and crops in Maine, with his father's rifle for both protection and hunting.

There is much work to be done tending to the crops and chinking the spaces between the logs of the cabin. Matt works hard, and he keeps himself busy to help pass the time while he is alone. Of course, he experiences some adventures along the way! He makes friends with the local Beaver tribe, who initially are very hesitant to trust a "white" boy.

August, the time for Matt's family to arrive, comes and goes. Autumn passes, and soon it is winter. The chief of the local Beaver tribe tells Matt that they intend to leave the area and travel north to follow the moose. The tribe worries that something has happened to Matt's family and fear that they will not return now that it is already winter. They invite Matt to come with them, and the chief lovingly promises to treat Matt as his own blood.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Favourite! Jan. 8 2009
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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 the Indians than the boy learns from him. Matt's father also does not come back as the months go by.

A wonderfully, beautiful story of friendship between two people of different cultures. Matt's misconceptions of the Indians are challenged as he learns a new way of living. The Indian boy is disdainful of the white boy who does squaw work and doesn't know how to do anything. A bond slowly grows between the boys as they learn from each other and prejudices are set aside.

This is not a plot driven story but more of a slow moving story of two people and their cultures. I've read this about three times now and both my older son and the 8yo really were riveted with the storytelling. Speare is a writer who writes beautiful language and weaves a tale that really makes the reader (or listener :-) care deeply for the characters. I think this book will especially be appreciated by boys and I recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone. A favourite!
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5.0 out of 5 stars We love it! June 10 2004
By Nia
Format:Audio Cassette
We first checked out this audio-tape out from the library when my son was 7. He loved it on that first long car trip, and we have checked it out 3 more times since then. Today, I bought it on Amazon.com for our trip this summer.
If you have a boy (or girl) who likes to listen to stories, this is a great one. As a Mom, I like that the boy learns to survive, works hard, and shows respect for others and their culture......a great role model for young kids today.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Put Down June 4 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I hated this book so much! It was horrible. Nothing ever happend, it was one big bore! Don't read this book unless you are forced to. I would rather eat vetegtables than read this book . DO NOT READ !
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Sign Of The Beaver May 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a good book. In the begining it is boring but keep on reading because it becomes fasinating. Matt's family leaves and
Matt has to watch over the cabbin. Soon after they leave, a guy named ben came and stole Matt's gun. The Native American tribe (the beaver tribe) found matt and helped him. He becomes good friends with Attean (someone from the beaver tribe). But soon Attean and his tribe have to leave and they ask Matt to come with them and matt says.............Wait i'm not going to tell you how it ends if I told you it would be a total waste because the book is better. So read The Sign Of The Beaver and you'll find out. This book is an adventure book and also fun book. I just didn't want to put it down. So read this book and I hope you feel the same way I do!!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Go stare at a brick wall, it is more exiting April 30 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I hated this book. This kid has to stay at this cabin till his father comes back with his family. Then he meets this ben guy who takes his rifle so he can only eat fish. then he gets stuck in a tree and the bees come at him. Then he meets this attean dude and matt teaches him how to read. then attean killed a bear and matt helped. matt goes to this indian party and falls asleep eating bear meat. attean take him to a room. then the grandmother is mad cuz a white person slept in her bed. then atteans dog gets caught in a trap. Matt tells the tribe and the grandma helped so she was not mad any more. the indians decide to move away and they want to take matt with him. he does not go and he waits for his parents. they come and he is happy. I would not recomend this book to anyone.
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