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Chickadee (Birchbark House) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 21, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Effortlessly and beautifully, Erdrich continues her story about an Ojibwe family in northern Minnesota in the mid 1800s. The series began with Omakayas's girlhood and now shifts to the lives of her sons. In 1866, quiet Chickadee and mischievous Makoons are inseparable eight-year-old twins, cherished by their extended family. When they gather with other Ojibwe to make maple sugar, a cruel older man mocks Chickadee for his small size and namesake. Makoons defends his brother's honor by playing a revengeful prank on the man, which humiliates and incenses him. His thick-headed, muscle-bound sons vow revenge and kidnap Chickadee, carrying him away and forcing him to serve their bewildering oafish demands. His family is heartbroken and pursues the captors while Makoons becomes listless and ill. Chickadee eventually escapes, in time reuniting with a traveling uncle, who leads the way back to his family. Through many harrowing adventures, the child is aided and encouraged by his avian namesake, who teaches him that small things have great power. Erdrich's storytelling is masterful. All of the characters, even minor ones, are believable and well developed, and small pencil drawings add to the story's charm. The northern Minnesota setting is vividly described, and information about Ojibwe life and culture is seamlessly woven into every page. Readers will be more than happy to welcome little Chickadee into their hearts.-Lisa Crandall, Capital Area District Library, Holt, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
★ “A beautifully evolving story of an indigenous American family. ” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★ “Erdrich’s storytelling is masterful. Readers will be more than happy to welcome little Chickadee into their hearts.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Readers will absorb the history lesson almost by osmosis; their full attention will be riveted on the story. Every detail anticipates readers’ interest.” (The Horn Book)
“In the fourth book in Erdrich’s award-winning Birchbark House series, the focus moves to a new generation. As always, the focus is on the way-of-life details as much as the adventure. Most affecting are the descriptions of Makoons’ loneliness without his brother.” (ALA Booklist)
“Set around the same time period as the ever-popular Little House books, the Birchbark House series has become a classic narrative in its own right. Delightful.” (Brightly)
“The pleasures of reading the series are not unlike those of reading Laura Ingalls Wilder: Discovering an earlier time in our country through stories of the daily lives of children.” (Newsday.com)
GLOWING PRAISE FOR THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE SERIES: “Based on Erdrich’s own family history, the mischievous celebration will move readers, and so will the anger and sadness. What is left unspoken is as powerful as the story told.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[A] lyrical narrative. Readers will want to follow this family for many seasons to come.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Readers who loved Omakayas and her family in The Birchbark House (1999) have ample reason to rejoice in this beautifully contstructed sequel … Hard not to hope for what comes next for this radiant nine-year old.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★ “Erdrich’s charming pencil drawings interspersed throughout and her glossary of Ojibwe terms round out a beautiful offering.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
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