This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George…

The Sign of the Beaver (original 1983; edition 1994)

by Elizabeth George Speare

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,821701,440 (3.8)53
Title:The Sign of the Beaver
Authors:Elizabeth George Speare
Info:Yearling (1994), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (1983)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 53 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
This book may be found to be a bit dated by students. The reading is a bit harder and should be provided to students who are confident in their reading skills.
It is a good story about a young boy named Matt Hallowell who is left alone in the cabin both he and his father built for their family, deep in the forest of Massachusetts. Armed with his gun and wits he must survive alone, in his family's new home, while his father goes and gathers his mother, sister, and the new baby. But when he loses his gun to a trapper, he is left only with the meager flour stores and fish from a pond. And, like most young boys, he makes a foolish decision and gets hurt. But, luckily, a kind Indian man Saknis and his grandson Attean help feed Matt, clothe him, and get him back on his feet. Over the course of that fall Attean and Matt become good friends and it is up to Matt to continue to protect the home for his family or he can follow Attean and his family in the enticing life of an Indian. ( )
  TaylorV | Mar 13, 2019 |
I had next to no memory of this book when I picked it up for the second time. I knew I had read it, the cover was burned into my mind. I remembered that I enjoyed it, but in a giggling sort of way. Reading it was something that jogged my memory far more thoroughly. The bear scene, in particular, was memorable - and I could recall the dearth of historical interest. It still amazes me now just how much could be done, how much knowledge shared between the Natives and settlers.

Matt is a twelve year old boy living alone in the Maine wilderness. His father has left him to watch the new cabin and land, and to protect it while he goes to bring his mother, sister, and newborn baby there to winter. Everything seems fine for Matt until his rifle is stolen, and he finds himself at a loss for how to survive. When his food supply is also destroyed by a bear, he knows he's in trouble. Luckily, the local tribe takes pity on him, and the grandson of the chief begins to teach him in exchange for learning how to read English. What follows is a story of friendship and survival.

The book was immensely readable. It was easy to breeze through - the action exciting, and the characters gripping. I found the friendship between Attean and Matt believable, and Matt's desire to prove himself one easy to relate to. This is a far better kid's book than I initially gave it credit for being, and I can understand why it's still taught in schools - or at least was taught when I was growing up. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
About a boy who is left alone in the American wilderness and would have died expect for the Native American friends who teach him how to survive. It went over the younger children's understanding. The older boys enjoyed it and a few of the girls.
  michellehewitt | Sep 14, 2017 |
Now that 12-year-old Matt and his father have finished building a comfortable cabin for their family in the Maine wilderness, Matt's father must leave to bring the rest of the family to the new settlement. Until the day his father returns, Matt must try to survive on his own.
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Young Matt is left alone in his new family cabin while his father gathers the rest of his family. While alone, his gun is stolen, so he is left with no ability to hunt for food, and must fish to survive. When growing bored of fish, Matt is attacked by a swarm of bees, and is rescued by a native american man, who introduces him to his grandson, Attean. Attean was to learn the English language from Matt, and during the days they spent together, Matt also learns how to hunt without the need of a rifle. After spending time with Attean's tribe, they asked him to come with them as the tribe moves away from the white settlers, but Matt declines and heads home to see his family.

Personal Thoughts:
I think that it is a great story of a boy that has to learn how to survive on his own. It also shows the distrust between the Native Americans the new white settlers.

Classroom extension:
1. Thanksgiving lunch with another class.
2. Journal. What are the essential items to survive if you have no electricity? ( )
  kendall.jones | Jul 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
The students ... were vocal and articulate in their responses to Speare's depiction of Attean's speech as grunts. I can still hear their voices, 18 years later, as they "talked back" to Speare.
In this coming-of-age story set in 18th-century Maine, Matthew Hallowell, left alone to guard the family cabin, is befriended by local Indians (tribe not indicated)…. The Natives speak stereotypical "Hollywood Indian," and the story contains offensive terms such as "heathen," "squaw," and "savage." The story perpetuates the stereotype of the "vanishing Indian." While this book is popular and widely used in classrooms, it is offensive in its portrayal of American Indians.
Melody A. Moxley (KLIATT Review, September 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 5))
Schaffert gives Speare's classic story of a 12-year-old boy facing the challenges of young manhood a straightforward yet spirited reading. Matt is left to take care of the pioneer home he and his father have built on the land they purchased in Maine when his father returns to Massachusetts to fetch Matt's mother and sister. Matt, in quest of honey when the molasses runs out, is badly stung, surviving only due to the assistance of Attean, a young Indian, and his grandfather, a chief. In repayment, Matt agrees -- at the grandfather's request -- to teach Attean to read. Matt is reluctant, due largely to Attean's seeming contempt for the activity. But as the boys get to know one another throughout the months ahead, both are surprised by the friendship that is forged. When Matt's father does not arrive and Matt realizes he must face the winter alone, he has to decide whether to go with the Indians as they move their village or stay at the homestead alone. A great choice for family listening, as the listener inevitably considers how s/he would have dealt with Matt's challenges. Schaffert imbues the story with Matt's courage, fear, and uncertainty as well as Attean's grudging friendship for a white boy. He conveys their youth without overstatement, a difficult task for some narrators. Highly recommended. Category: Fiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998 (orig. 1983), Ages 12 to 18.
added by kthomp25 | editKLIATT Review, Melody A. Moxley
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To William and Michael
First words
Matt stood at the edge of the clearing for some time after his father had gone out of sight among the trees.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Until the day his father returns to their cabin in the Maine wilderness, twelve-year-old Matt must try to survive on his own. Although Matt is brave, he's not prepared for an attack by swarming bees, and he's astonished when he's rescued by an Indian chief and his grandson, Attean.
As the boys come to know each other, Attean learns to speak English while Matt becomes a skilled hunter. Though many months have passed, there's no sign of Matt's family. Then Attean asks Matt to join the Beaver tribe and move north. Should Matt abandon his hopes of ever seeing his family again and move on to a new life?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440479002, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:08 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Left alone to guard the family's wilderness home in eighteenth-century Maine, a boy is hard-pressed to survive until local Indians teach him their skills.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.8)
1 7
2 30
2.5 8
3 95
3.5 27
4 146
4.5 24
5 101

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,489,411 books! | Top bar: Always visible