Matt and his father go to Maine to find a new home. They build a cabin and plant crops. Matt's father must go and get his mother and sister and bring them back to Maine. He leaves Matt to take care of the place. Matt gets into trouble and the only thing that keeps him alive is his new friendship with Saknis, a Penobscot chief and his grandson Attean. As time passes, Matt worries when his family does not arrive. Will Matt see his family again?
I read this book when I was younger, and was excited to have the Bookworms read it. This book is at a reading level for ages 8-12. It is historical fiction, but it provides a more personal way of introducing the 1760's to young readers. Depending on what they have learned in school, they might not understand why the relationship between the settlers and the Native Americans was so tense. This book does not go into great detail about that, so some background information would be helpful, but not necessary to understand the story.
I think the best part of this book is how it portrays friendship, and how important it is to set aside preconceived ideas. I liked reading how Matt slowly realizes ideas he has grown up with and never questioned do not fit his new experiences. I like that the author did not rush this change. Books for adults and young readers often make changes so quickly that it does not seem real. It was great to actually see the growth of his character.
This was the eleventh book the Bookworms read together. I picked this book because it was one I liked reading when I was Alejandro and Paige's age. It was their first time reading it, and it was fun to see how they reacted to the book. We had great discussions about history, friendship, and how we should treat other people. Here are a few of the Bookworms' thoughts on the book. Warning, there may be some spoilers.
Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club
How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Alejandro 41/2 when we began the discussion, but I change it to 5
What was your favorite part?
Paige I liked all of it a lot, but I think I liked the ending the best.
Alejandro When his Mom and Dad came.
Both I didn't think they would come.
How would you feel being left alone in the woods?
Alejandro I would think it isn't too long.
Paige I would be scared and worried I would get hurt. I would need to be careful.
As part of his agreement with Saknis, Matt teaches Attean to read with the book Robinson Crusoe. Have you ever taught anyone to read? What book would you use to teach someone to read?
Paige At school we have the Book Buddy Program. The older class goes to a younger class and helps them with reading. So I have taught people that way. I would use a Dr. Seuss book: Oh The Pets You Can Get because they might like it because it is easy and they would want or have a pet.
Alejandro I taught my sister to read a word. I would use a simple book but maybe a chapter book. Like a Geronimo Stilton book.
What does friendship mean to you?
Alejandro That you are nice to each other, stand up for them.
Paige You are close and help each other. You are happy together.
Why do you think Matt did not go with Attean?
Alejandro Because he wanted to wait in case his family came.
Paige He had hope his family would come back.
Is there anything else you would like to say about the book?
Paige It was nice and I like that they got to be friends.
Alejandro It was really good. I liked the part when they killed the bear and became friends.
Thank you Alejandro and Paige for reading and reviewing this book with me. I look forward to our next book!