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Malian’s Song (Vermont Folklife Center Children's Book Series) Hardcover – July 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—This story, based on an English attack on the Abenaki in 1759, is notable for relating a lesser-known piece of history passed down through oral storytelling. Before the raid, Malian lives a happy life with her family. All that is destroyed when the English set fire to the entire village and her father is killed. Grief stricken, the girl makes a Lonesome Song. Eventually, the people rebuild, but vow never to forget. The art captures the details of the child's life, including homes, dress, and daily experiences. An afterword describes the event and how it was passed along and "discovered" nearly 200 years later. The story is told by Malian, with the text appearing in boxes over the full-page illustrations. The colors are muted, creating a feeling of reflection. Although the book relates a devastating experience, many of the scenes are peaceful, and the use of the past tense distances readers from the violence. Recommend this to history or English teachers for use in oral-history units.—Cris Riedel, Ellis B. Hyde Elementary School, Dansville, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 2-4. Bruchac's story, which is based on oral history, will be useful in a classroom unit on Native Americans. A young Abenaki girl recounts the night in 1759 when British soldiers burned her village. Most but not all of the villagers escaped death, thanks to a warning from a Mohican scout who betrayed his British employers. The author weaves details about daily life--food, clothes, ceremonies, fishing--into the slightly fictionalized account. Abenaki words appear as well, with their meaning translated or made clear by the context. Somewhat murky, occasionally static illustrations add more information but not much drama. The plot, which is slightly disjointed, makes more sense after reading the three-page appendix, but as the appendix includes quotes from the time that refer to the Abenaki as "savages," the section might be best read in situations where discussion can follow. Kathleen Odean
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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It's too bad, because this is some good oral history and it is a rare look at the Native side of the Saint Francis raid, but really the book doesn't talk about the raid aside from saying that it was happening. Not a lot of detail for kids, and not as good as it could have been.