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Chickadee


Series
Birchbark House

by
Louise Erdrich

Edition
Library edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Harper
ISBN
9780060577919

Awards and Honors
Horn Book Fanfare 2012, Fiction
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$12.00   $5.00
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QTY
Out of stock

In 1866, after Chickadee, an Ojibwe boy, is stolen, his family leaves their wooded lakeside home to search for him and arrives on the harsh Great Plains. Glossary and pronunciation guide of Ojibwe terms. Black-and-white illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

208

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Dewey

Fic

AR

5.1: points 6

Lexile

800L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

11

JLG Release

Jan 2013

Book Genres


Topics

Ojibwe Indians. Mé,tis. Indians of North America. Kidnapping. Voyages and travels. Family life. Twins. The Great Plains.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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, MI

Horn Book

If the Birchbark House series is the Native American counterpart to Wilder’s Little House, this fourth installment might be considered Erdrich’s Little Town on the Prairie (rev. 1/42). Set a generation after the first three books, Chickadee centers on the now-adult Omakayas’s eight-year-old twin sons, Chickadee and Makoons. When Chickadee is abducted from the Ojibwe camp in the deep woods, it not only initiates a string of gripping adventures for the boy but also signals the beginning of a change to his family’s way of life: in searching for him they establish themselves in a village on the Great Plains, abandoning the great northern forests and their traditional nomadic existence. Readers will absorb the history lesson almost by osmosis; their full attention will be riveted on the story, whether it’s Chickadee escaping his (ultimately buffoonish) captors or riding with his uncle Quill in an oxcart train bound for Saint Paul or surviving a vicious mosquito attack (“millions and millions of mosquitoes landed on the flesh of every living being in the oxcart train”) or calmly picking baby snakes off the sleeping, phobic Quill. Every detail anticipates readers’ interest. Chickadee himself is a most sympathetic character—small in stature but big in heart, like his namesake; and though it’s mostly his story, interspersed scenes depicting the left-behind Makoons’s grief make the brothers’ reunion at the end all the sweeter. A map, historical prologue, and glossary of Ojibwe terms are appended.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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, MI

Horn Book

If the Birchbark House series is the Native American counterpart to Wilder’s Little House, this fourth installment might be considered Erdrich’s Little Town on the Prairie (rev. 1/42). Set a generation after the first three books, Chickadee centers on the now-adult Omakayas’s eight-year-old twin sons, Chickadee and Makoons. When Chickadee is abducted from the Ojibwe camp in the deep woods, it not only initiates a string of gripping adventures for the boy but also signals the beginning of a change to his family’s way of life: in searching for him they establish themselves in a village on the Great Plains, abandoning the great northern forests and their traditional nomadic existence. Readers will absorb the history lesson almost by osmosis; their full attention will be riveted on the story, whether it’s Chickadee escaping his (ultimately buffoonish) captors or riding with his uncle Quill in an oxcart train bound for Saint Paul or surviving a vicious mosquito attack (“millions and millions of mosquitoes landed on the flesh of every living being in the oxcart train”) or calmly picking baby snakes off the sleeping, phobic Quill. Every detail anticipates readers’ interest. Chickadee himself is a most sympathetic character—small in stature but big in heart, like his namesake; and though it’s mostly his story, interspersed scenes depicting the left-behind Makoons’s grief make the brothers’ reunion at the end all the sweeter. A map, historical prologue, and glossary of Ojibwe terms are appended.

Grades 3-5
Intermediate Readers
For Grades 3-5

A wide variety of novels and accessible nonfiction for younger elementary readers who love a good story comprise this category of 12 books per year. The focus in these titles is primarily on the text, though some novels may feature illustration.

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Interests
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Intermediate Readers
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