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The Sign of the Beaver [Paperback]

Elizabeth George Speare
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

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Paperback CDN $8.54  
Paperback, July 1 1984 --  
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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
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Jan. 30 2004
Format:Paperback
Imagine being a twelve year old boy, trying to survive alone in the Maine wilderness. In The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. Matt and his father build a cabin in the woods. Matt's father must leave to get the rest of the family. Matt conflicts with nature to survive. A Native American came and he was helping Matt to build arrows and other stuff like arrows and a bow. The Native American was an Indian chief whose grandson was named Attean. Matt and Attean became friends and the Native Americans helped Matt survive.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Review of the Beaver Oct. 29 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
"THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER" is a adventure packed book that Justin really likes. It's about a family that is moving up to Maine in the late 1700's. Matt's dad left him at the cabin, while he went back to get the rest of the family back in Quincy, Massachusetts. Matt who is 12 years old decides to get honey from a bee's hive in a tree and instead he gets stung. Two indians save him and supply him with food for a while. The Chief Saknis and his grandson Attean help him back to full health. saknis asks Matt if he would teach Attean how to read and so Matthew Hallowell does. Attean also teaches Matt a lot of very usefull survival skills. He teaches Matt how to catch rabits with a snare and how to make a wood fish hook quickly and made well. Attean also shows him the signs of other indian tribes and warns him not to tresspass and to mark your path with like a broken branch or two rocks ontop of each other. Matt has a fun time but he can't get Attean to be proud of him. When Mr.Hallowell (Matt's dad) dosn't come after three weeks when he sould have Saknis asks Matt if he wants to come with them because his dad might not come back. Matt does wonder if he sould go North with Attean or stay and wate for his dad. What will he decide? It's a mind-unsettling question. Read to figure out what Matt decides and what happens after that...
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Review of the Beaver Oct. 29 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
"THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER" is a adventure packed book that Justin really likes. It's about a family that is moving up to Maine in the late 1700's. Matt's dad left him at the cabin, while he went back to get the rest of the family back in Quincy, Massachusetts. Matt who is 12 years old decides to get honey from a bee's hive in a tree and instead he gets stung. Two indians save him and supply him with food for a while. The Chief Saknis and his grandson Attean help him back to full health. saknis asks Matt if he would teach Attean how to read and so Matthew Hallowell does. Attean also teaches Matt a lot of very usefull survival skills. He teaches Matt how to catch rabits with a snare and how to make a wood fish hook quickly and made well. Attean also shows him the signs of other indian tribes and warns him not to tresspass and to mark your path with like a broken branch or two rocks ontop of each other. Matt has a fun time but he can't get Attean to be proud of him. When Mr.Hallowell (Matt's dad) dosn't come after three weeks when he sould have Saknis asks Matt if he wants to come with them because his dad might not come back. Matt does wonder if he sould go North with Attean or stay and wate for his dad. What will he decide? It's a mind-unsettling question. Read to figure out what Matt decides and what happens after that...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My son loves this book!!!
Published 23 days ago by Peggy Molyneux
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read-aloud book to children ages 6 to 12 or ...
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 3 months ago by Gordon Stretch
4.0 out of 5 stars A light and encouraging read.
A light and enlightening tale of the courage of youth and the possibilities toward camaraderie between races. An enjoyable read.
Published 7 months ago by Dan Vickerd
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Survival story at its finest!!
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... Read more
Published on Dec 24 2011 by Darlene
5.0 out of 5 stars We love it!
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 more
Published on June 9 2004 by Nia
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Put Down
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 more
Published on June 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sign Of The Beaver
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
Published on May 8 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Go stare at a brick wall, it is more exiting
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 more
Published on April 30 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Offensive steroetypes
In doing research on the book, I came across several Native American organizations that find the content offensive. Read more
Published on April 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sign of the Beaver
It was the best. My teacher and my class read it. It was great.
Published on April 1 2004
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