The Birchbark House, Book 3: The Porcupine Year -hc

SKU: 9780060297879

Louise Erdrich
The Birchbark House
Grade Levels:
Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine
Ojibwe, Woodland
Book Type:
HarperCollins Canada
The Birchbark House
Copyright Date:

Sale price$21.00


The Porcupine Year is the third children's novel in Ojibwe writer Louise Erdrich's series about the life of a 19th-century Ojibwe family set on Madeline Island in Lake Superior. This story is set in 1852 and the lead character, Omakayas, is twelve-years-old as her family is forced to move from their beloved land because of the demands by the chimookomanag, the white people, who are moving closer to the people every year. The family decides to travel north to meet up with a sister's family. The novel opens with Omakayas and her younger brother Pinch caught in the river's current and their canoe overturns. The pair manages to survive and in the process Pinch becomes Quill after he adopts a special baby porcupine as his medicine animal. Gaag (little porcupine) becomes a fixture as the pet finds a home on top of Quill's head and brings enjoyment and benefits to the entire family. The trip north is long and perilous as the family takes numerous trade goods and food resources in their canoes. But tragedy strikes when a distant relative ambushes the family and severely wounds father. The family is left near starvation but everyone works together so that food is located and warm furs are provided for the journey. Despite these hardships, Erdrich enriches the read-aloud novel with humourous moments as well as times of caring and empathy. The family survives a forest fire, they rescue two chimookomanag children, endure the loss of two members captured by a Bwaanag (Dakota) war party, and they lose a beloved Elder. Woven into the story are Ojibwe words and terms that provide depth to the narrative. The young woman known as Omakayas receives a new name during her first moon time and grows in character from the young girl in The Birchbark House to the young woman at the end of this novel. Simple and evocative sketches by the author throughout the story add additional information to the year-long journey of Omakayas and her family. Highly Recommended. Lexile measure 840

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