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The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George…

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

by Elizabeth George Speare

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4,074641,246 (3.79)50
Title:The Sign of the Beaver
Authors:Elizabeth George Speare
Info:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1983), Hardcover, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2012, Fiction, Young Adult

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


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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Similar in feel to most "Indian captive" style stories (though this wasn't one). I enjoyed watching the boys' burgeoning acceptance of each other, gradual friendship, and eventual brotherhood (I don't really see this as being worth a spoiler alert, as it's par for the course for these types of YA stories). I'd like to know how well the culture of the tribe was portrayed in this, but really can't be bothered to do my own research. ( )
  benuathanasia | Mar 24, 2017 |
The Sign of the Beaver is a wonderful story set in early America, about a young man watching over his family's new cabin while his father is away for the summer. The summer goes by slowly at first, but after two thefts by man and beast, hunger leads young Matthew into a dangerous encounter, and subsequent rescue by a native American. Through his interactions with a youth from the local Beaver tribe, he becomes more self-sufficient, and grows in maturity.

This is a sweet, interesting coming-of-age story by an author who has not disappointed me in the past. Very much recommended. ( )
  fuzzi | Mar 13, 2017 |
Read this as a read aloud a few months ago. My daughter and I enjoyed this book: the adventures were exciting, and we found we learned quite a bit about trying to forge a living out in the woods. Makes you appreciate the conveniences we have, like heat and a change of clothes. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
This book is a wonderful story about an early settler family in the American Colonies. A father and son head off to a new area to build and set up a home. After sometime the father leaves the son at the new home, to protect it, and heads back to where they came from to get the rest of the family. The son is only a young teenager. He has enough supplies to get him through the next few months and one gun. After his father leaves, he starts to count the days the father is gone by marking on sticks. After a few weeks, a visitor comes to his home. He doesn't know the visitor and treats him to dinner and says he can stay there the night. When he gets up in the morning, the man has taken his gun. The boy is upset and will only be able to eat fish from now on. After a while he finds a bee hive and attempts to gather some honey. However, this fails horribly and the boy is badly injured. Thankfully, an older Indian and his grandson were watching. They brought him back to the cabin and took care of him. The grandfather checks on him each day until he his well once again. Then after the boy is better the grandfather tells him that he wants to make a treaty with him and he wants the boy to teach his grandson to read and write. The grandson isn't too thrilled about this but comes to learn. As the boy attempts to teach him he finds the best method would be to read to him. So he reads him one of the books his father left. The grandson starts to like the book and says he now wants to help the boy out. He then teaches him how to make a snare. The boys start to develop a relationship. Eventually, the grandson tells him that his grandfather wants to meet with him. So the boy goes with the grandson through the forest, leaving a trail of signs as they go. The boy home and a few weeks later, he hears a dog howling. It is the grandson's dog and he is hurt. He has his paw stuck in a steel trap. He runs to were the grandson is and tells them about the dog. The grandson appreciates the boy keeping his dog safe. A few days later, the grandfather and grandson come to visit the boy. They tell him that they are leaving the area and think it would be best if he came with them. The boy was torn, it had been a long time since the father said he would be home. He told the grandfather that he would stay and wait. After some more time, the boys family did arrive, and the boy told them about the Indians.

Personal reflection-
This book was great at informing about the early settler's way of life. It really made me think about my self at that young age, or even at my current age, trying to deal with those circumstances.

Classroom extension ideas-
1. We can break into groups and write about what it was like for us to learn how to read and write.

2. We can talk about Native American Culture. We can reenact the ceremony performed by the tribe.

3. We can make diagrams of the living areas of the settler family and the Native American family ( )
  Amahoney1114 | Nov 23, 2016 |
Sign of the Beaver is a good chapter book to read aloud to a classroom. This story is interesting and informs readers a lot about the way Indians live. The story is serious and students definitely need to pay attention to it. The book is full of action and exciting events that keep a hold of the reader's attention. Readers will become attached to the main characters as they get deeper and deeper into this book.
  Jaymand | Oct 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (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
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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.
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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?
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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)

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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.

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