July 1, 2012

The Sign of the Beaver

Elizabeth George Speare, 1983
Matt learns to survive
alone in the woods when he
befriends Indians

A Newberry Honor Book, this young adult novel is based on a true story the author discovered about a young boy left alone in the woods who was befriended by Native Americans. Reminiscent maybe of The Jungle Book, or Robinson Crusoe, it is a well-presented story of two cultures learning to respect each other, and two strangers learning to live as brothers.

Matt's father leaves him alone in the Maine wilderness to watch the new cabin they have built, while he goes to fetch the rest of the family. Matt soon meets some local indians, who he teaches to read in return for lessons on survival in the woods. Matt's father is gone longer than expected, leaving him to decide if he should stay and wait for his family, or move on with the tribe. (G)

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