From School Library Journal
Grade 7-Up Through lyrical free-verse poems that span his senior year, readers come to know Evan Hill, an artistic, articulate student who embarks on a crusade begun by his older brother to remove the Indian as their high school's mascot. He shares a Native American heritage with his father, who embodies patience and quiet strength and who draws the teen into his once estranged Mohawk family circle. Evan encounters a mix of hostility, indifference, and silent support for his cause from his classmates. Intolerance and brutality erupt when long-haired Evan is cornered in the hall by scissors-wielding classmates and when his mother discovers the beloved family dog lying dead atop a paper feather headdress. The young man's repeated visits to the school board generate annoyance, frustration, and intransigence, and it votes to ignore his request and to uphold the status quo. But at graduation, when an Indian mascot banner is displayed, cheers fade as sympathizers join Evan in a silent, seated protest. Carvell's first novel carries a clear, thought-provoking message about both intolerance and cultural pride. The protagonist's first-person experiences and insights are affecting. His objection to the shallow, stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans emerges from a spiritual and cultural need to be understood, recognized, and appreciated. Through his campaign, Evan learns a lesson in integrity, perseverance, and courage. -Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-10. A public issue comes close to home in this story of Evan Hill, a part-Mohawk high-school senior, who protests against his school's use of Indian mascots. Drawing on the real-life experience of her own two sons, Carvell lets Evan tell the story, which unfolds in quiet, spare, very readable, free-verse vignettes that express his hurt, anger, and humiliation as he tries to get the school board, the principal, and his classmates to listen to him and get rid of the noble savage caricature of his people. At times the narrative degenerates into sermonizing, with too much reverential talk about "proud solemnity." But Evan's words personalize his search for his Mohawk roots, even as his bullying classmates call him "Injun hippie" and "timber nigger" and then kill his beloved dog. The issues are sure to spark discussion: What about the bystanders who just let it happen? Will Evan change any minds? What's all the fuss about, anyway? Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved