Named for the Ojibwe word for little bear, Makoons and his twin, Chickadee, have traveled with their family to the Great Plains of Dakota Territory. There they must learn to become buffalo hunters and once again help their people make a home in a new land. But Makoons has had a vision that foretells great challenges—challenges that his family may not be able to overcome.
Based on Louise Erdrich’s own family history, this fifth book in the series features black-and-white interior illustrations, a note from the author about her research, as well as a map and glossary of Ojibwe terms.
Erdrich’s writing for the middle grades audience is everything it needs to be: simple, action-packed, and lovely. The characters are well formed, and even without having read the previous books in the series, I was able to immerse myself in the lives of Chickadee’s and Makoons’s family. Information on Ojibwe culture and language is shared in a way that enhances the story rather than feeling like a lecture on the topic.
MAKOONS would be a great addition to a middle grades classroom, and it would be a source of wonderful supplemental material for a lesson plan on the time period. Erdrich has won awards for her historical fiction, and it’s easy to see why. The research is detailed without being overwhelming, and it’s obvious that she enjoys telling the stories of these characters—who are based on members of the author’s own family. In fact, fans of the Little House on the Prairie books will love the Birchbark House series.
Recommended for fans of Little House on the Prairie