CHICKADEE by Louise Erdrich
Kirkus Star


From the "Birchbark House" series, volume 4
Age Range: 8 - 12
Email this review


Erdrich continues the saga of Omakayas and her family, who now embark in 1866 on a life-changing search that takes them from Minnesota’s North Woods to the Great Plains in this fourth book of The Birchbark House Series.

Omakayas is now a young mother with lively 8-year-old twins named Chickadee and Makoons. When the tribe’s bully, Zhigaag, calls Chickadee a “weakling” who’s “scrawny like his namesake,” grandmother Nokomis reminds him that “[s]mall things have great power.” After Makoons tricks Zhigaag, his oafish sons avenge their father by hijacking Chickadee to the Red River Valley. Chickadee’s family searches desperately until they reach Pembina on the Great Plains. Meanwhile, resourceful Chickadee escapes and survives with help from his wee namesake until he runs into his Uncle Quill driving an ox cart of furs to sell in St. Paul. Quill and Chickadee travel with fellow traders on the Red River ox cart trail, arriving in Pembina to find Makoons seriously ill. Chickadee and Makoons extend Omakaya’s story to the next generation as her Ojibwe family transitions from its native woods culture to life on the plains. Realistic black-and-white spot art provides snapshots of Chickadee’s adventures.

A beautifully evolving story of an indigenous American family. (map; glossary & pronunciation guide of Ojibwe terms) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-057790-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2012


ChildrenTHE EMPTY CITY by Erin Hunter
by Erin Hunter
ChildrenTHE BOSTON TEA PARTY by Russell Freedman
by Russell Freedman
ChildrenLIAR & SPY by Rebecca Stead
by Rebecca Stead
ChildrenCHICKADEE by Louise Erdrich
by Louise Erdrich
ChildrenSPLENDORS AND GLOOMS by Laura Amy Schlitz
by Laura Amy Schlitz


ChildrenMAKOONS by Louise Erdrich
by Louise Erdrich
ChildrenTHE PORCUPINE YEAR by Louise Erdrich
by Louise Erdrich
ChildrenTHE GAME OF SILENCE by Louise Erdrich
by Louise Erdrich


ChildrenVINE BASKET by Josanne La Valley
by Josanne La Valley
ChildrenRED RIVER GIRL by Norma Sommerdorf
by Norma Sommerdorf
ChildrenSKY BLUE WATER by Jay D. Peterson
by Jay D. Peterson
ChildrenBEAR DANCER by Thelma Hatch Wyss
by Thelma Hatch Wyss
IndieTani's Search for the Heart by Keith Egawa
by Keith Egawa