The Book Reviews – Website

January 17, 2009

The Sign of the Beaver

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The Sign of the Beaver

Author: Elizabeth George Speare

Page Length: 135

Reading Level: 6.5

Genre: Realistic Fiction     

PLOT SUMMARY: Matt and his dad have built a cabin on their homestead land in Maine.  Matt is left alone while his dad returns to bring back his mother and sister.  After seven weeks, Matt has a visitor who steals his rifle.  Then, he runs into a beehive.  When Matt awakes, he finds that an older Indian and his son, Attean, are treating him.  Matt agrees to teach Attean to read in trade for his treatment back to good health. While teaching Attean to read, the pair bond and become good friends.  Matt also learns many survival skills from the Indians.  However, the Indians begin to fear the white people moving in and they decide to travel further north and west.  They invite Matt to move with them, but out of loyalty, he decides to wait for the return of his family.

REVIEW: This is an excellent easy to read book that focuses on a young boy becoming independent with his own survival skills in the wilderness.   The friendship that forms between Attean and Matt is genuine.  This would be a good class novel to read in conjunction with United States history in the early 1700’s. 

AREAS OF TEACHING: Theme, Point of View, Setting, Sequence of Events, and Compare/Contrast

RELATED BOOKS: Brian’s Winter, Island of the Blue Dolphins, I am Regina, Calico Captive

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: Dances with Wolves (1990)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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