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Chickadee

by Louise Erdrich

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3161283,415 (3.94)8
In 1866, Omakayas's son Chickadee is kidnapped by two ne'er-do-well brothers from his own tribe and must make a daring escape, forge unlikely friendships, and set out on an exciting and dangerous journey to get back home.
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It’s 1866, and Omakayas is married with children!?!?!
That felt like a big jump from where the last novel left off! But I guess it’s been 14 years, so…

She has twin eight-year-old boys, Chickadee and Makoons. And Chickadee is stolen by the Zhigaag brothers! The ENTIRE family packs up camp to chase them down, including Two Strike. And, as Orph Carter says, “…I don’t want to be here when Two Strike comes after this boy.”! Good advice, as Two Strike has grown into a tremendous woman hunter/warrior and her strength rivals any man! It's a good story, with a nice ending, but I must admit that I liked the tales of young Omakayas a little more than the story of her twins. It isn't bad, it's just my preference. Great illustrations and great map, as well as a cool song for the twin whose name graces the cover of the book:

"I am only the Chickadee
Yet small things have
great power
I speak the truth."

And good advice from Nokomis: "She said that was how the world should work. We should fix what we break in this world for the ones who come next, our children." Amen! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Mar 3, 2024 |
I've read this at least twice, and am puzzled that goodreads seems to have deleted my review. This is one of my favorite books in the series -- Chickadee is deeply endearing as a character, and even though there are many hard things that happen, it is a wonderful story. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
I read this for my Never Too Old Book Club, and I chose number 4 for my love of the cheery little bird. I am well-rewarded as the protagonist, a twin Ojibwe boy, is named after the chickadee, who becomes his guide. Once, Chickadee bemoaned having such a small bird as his spirit animal, especially since his twin brother, Makoons, is named for bear. But his wise, Nokomis (grandmother) gently berates him, saying that "Small things have great power." (p. 28) Chickadee is contrite and apologizes to his namesake with an offering of hazelnuts. Later, when the boy is alone and far from home, Chickadee comes to his aid.
Set in 1866, Chickadee is the continuing saga of Omakayas's family as they move west during the European expansion, suffer from smallpox and other tragedies, but find their strength and hope in culture and relations. Ms. Erdrich, who is of the Chippewa people, writes with innate knowledge of indigenous ways. In one scene, after Chickadee has been kidnapped, his worried family sits together in silence to think matters through before coming to an action decision. She further explores beliefs as Chickadee learns more about his namesake and comes to rely on the bird for guidance and hope (see the quotation from page 118).
My favorite chapter is "The Small and the Fierce" when Chickadee is in despair at ever finding his way home. The small bird comes to him and teaches the boy his song: "I am only the Chickadee/Yet small things have great power. I speak the truth." He also connects him with two Red-tailed Hawks, whom he saves, and the two sisters become his Mothers. "He [Chickadee] was not so lonely now. He'd been adopted. He had a father, the chickadee, and two mothers who were hawks." (p. 118)
Ms. Erdrich lightens the sometimes tense and sad story with two bumbling brothers who first kidnap Chickadee to be their servant, and later make him their master in trying to impress Two Strike, Chickadee's formidable aunt, whom they wish to marry. She also shows the great love between Chickadee and his twin by writing of the boys' feelings both before and after their separation. Makoons becomes ill with worry the longer his brother is gone.
This is an excellent series to read along with and as an alternative voice to the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As Ms. Erdrich states in an interview with Martha Parravano: "The migration across Minnesota into the Dakotas, and the warmth of family life, is something that these books have in common with the Little House series. I am happy that they are being read togehter, as the Native experience of early western settlement is so often missing in middle-grade history classes." ( )
  bookwren | Jan 8, 2022 |
In 1866, Omakayas's son Chickadee is kidnapped by two ne'er-do-well brothers from his own Ojibwe tribe and must make a daring escape, forge unlikely friendships, and set out on an exciting and dangerous journey to get back home.
  BLTSbraille | Oct 26, 2021 |
children's historic fiction; native americans 1860s. This wasn't bad and showed promise, I just wasn't able to finish it because other library patrons were waiting for it and I didn't feel like historic fiction at the time. Maybe will come back to it. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
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For Netaa-niimid Aamo-ikwe
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The year was 1866, and the girl whose first step was a hop, Omakayas, sometimes skipped as she chased after her children.
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"The chickadee stays awake all winter in the cold, " said Nokomis. "He survives on the smallest seeds. He is a teacher. The chickadee shows the Anishinabeg how to live. For intstance, he never stores his food all in one place. He makes caches in various places. He never eats all of his food at once. We do that too. The chickadee takes good care of his family. The mother and the father stay with their babies as they fly out into the world. They stick together, like the Anishinabeg. And there are other things. The chickdadee is always cheerful even in adversity. He is brave and has great purpose, great meaning. You are lucky to have your name." (p. 28)
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In 1866, Omakayas's son Chickadee is kidnapped by two ne'er-do-well brothers from his own tribe and must make a daring escape, forge unlikely friendships, and set out on an exciting and dangerous journey to get back home.

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