The Sign of the Beaver Paperback – Jul 1 1984
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
I enjoyed the book because Matt was in the outdoors and he was not ever bored. He would not just sit around all day and do nothing. Was always goes out side and explores places he has not been before. And when I was reading I got in the book and I just wanted to read more. Matt and his Dad built a cabin for their family and I thought that it was nice that they were helping their family. If I could change one thing in this novel it would be that I would wont the book to be longer.
Most recent customer reviews
it was a book my husband read when he was a kid, and it made him fascinated about aboriginal culture. After reading again as adults. It's actually a little racist... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lucy Oster
As a teenager I loved this book very much. As an adult I find areas of it quite problematic, HOWEVER, the reason I gave it four stars is that this copy includes those areas in a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by D. Johansen
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.Published 19 months ago by Gordon Stretch
A light and enlightening tale of the courage of youth and the possibilities toward camaraderie between races. An enjoyable read.Published 23 months ago by Dan Vickerd
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. Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Jack
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. Read morePublished on June 4 2004
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. Read more
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. Read morePublished on April 30 2004