The Sign of the Beaver
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: The Sign of the Beaver
Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Major Themes: Indians, Early Settlers, Pioneers
Synopsis: When Matt is left to care for his family’s new farm while his father brings the family out to live there, can he survive—even when provisions get scarce?
The Sign of the Beaver is a great adventure story, especially good for boys who love reading about Indians. Both entertaining and historically valuable, this book is a great addition to any school study, or can be enjoyed entirely on its own.
Matt’s father has gone back east to get his mother and two siblings, leaving a twelve-year-old in charge of keeping the cabin in good trim and gathering in the garden produce for winter. He won’t be gone long, but for now Matt must be the man of the house. Then someone steals his gun, and while he can live on fish and vegetables, Matt soon discovers that his menu gets old quickly. Then while out trying to trap rabbits, a bear breaks into the cabin and Matt loses the little amount of dry goods he still has left. Can he learn to survive—in the wilderness, home of the Indian, where the white man is still not accepted? Will he even be alive by the time his father gets back?
The Sign of the Beaver is a very fun, imaginative story that rings of historical accuracy. My brothers—who have played “Indians” multiple times—loved hearing the book, and I really enjoy it on each successive re-read. Matt’s problems are very relatable, and the things he learns to do are ones that many boys would love to try themselves.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Links to buy The Sign of the Beaver:
Keywords: Indians, Pioneers