Family Book Review: “The Sign of the Beaver” by Elizabeth George Speare

The Sign of the BeaverThe Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the next Read-Aloud book in our history curriculum. I have to say, I love reading the historical fiction books, and many of them move me to tears at least once. Good stuff.

The kids and I really enjoyed this book together. It was healthy,I think, for the kids to see that not all white settlers were bad, or had evil intent. That not all Native Americans were peaceful, or war-like. That, at bottom, people are people, and that each of us can learn from others, even if we don’t understand one another at first. That our American History is filled with mistakes, some greater than others, but it is also filled with people. Real people that had to live and breathe and work and hunt and build and survive. And on top of it all, somehow live together. That was never really done very successfully in this country, but what is past is past. We can only do better when we learn to know better. And that is what History should teach us: to do better.

I asked each of the kids what their favorite part of the book was, and they all loved the ending. So, to avoid spoilers, I made them pick another part of the book.

“I liked the part where Matt rescued Attean’s dog from a steel trap, because then Attean’s grandmother finally trusted him, and the dog was nice to him. And I like dogs a lot. It also shows that Matt really cares that the dog was suffering, and he hated to see suffering like that, even in a mangy, worthless, no-good for hunting dog.”

“My favorite part of the book is when Attean and Matt go fishing together, because it’s fun, and because Matt learned how to make a fish hook from a stick.”

“My favorite part was Attean’s first reading lesson with Matt, because Attean kinda looked grumpy, and it was funny.”

“I liked the part when Attean and Matt were killing the bear, because it was an awesome fighting scene.”

My favorite part was when Matt’s manhood is confirmed and acknowledged. I don’t want to say too much, but that part touched me deeply, and made me see my own firstborn son in a new light.

Overall, an excellent read.

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