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THE CRIMSON CAP by Ellen Howard


by Ellen Howard

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2152-7
Publisher: Holiday House

In 1687, when LaSalle’s attempted French settlement in present-day Texas foundered, ten-year-old Pierre Talon left his family to go with the explorer for help but got no further than a Hasinai Indian town, where he grew into manhood before Spaniards came to “rescue” him and he had to choose an identity. Frightened at first by the Hasinai’s strange ways, Pierre is won over by their care during his illness and comes to admire and emulate their skills, becoming part of the community, complete with appropriate tattoos. He learns that people can be complicated: Friends can also be murderers, “savages” may simply be people whose customs are different. Based on historical record and the little information available about the people of the Caddo Confederacy, this moving coming-of-age story is told in third person with the historical background smoothly integrated and supplemented by a character list, map and author’s end note. Like Pierre, readers will find the Hasinai more civilized than the Europeans and sympathize with his difficult choice. A well-imagined window into a little-known past. (Historical fiction. 10-14)