As mentioned briefly here, I am joining Amber at The Literary Wife in an informal reading challenge of sorts as we read and blog our way through the top 100 children’s books as voted on by readers of Elizabeth Bird’s A Fuse #8 Production.
This was another reread for me. I think I must have read it during one of those long lazy summers when we would get piles of books from the library and read all day (and in my case, sometimes part of the night!) Unlike other books on this list, I don’t remember reading this one more than once, although I did read the sequel (Magical Melons) and other books by Brink.
Maybe it is because we lived in the country with woods and trees and fields, but I always felt an affinity for girls like Caddie and tales like this. When I first read this, I had no real knowledge of Native Americans, and so it is with much hindsight that I see the Native Americans in this book with current eyes. I do agree with Debbie Reese, that reading and teaching this book today provides a great opportunity to reflect on not only stereotypes, but America’s past and history. Just as with the Little House books, we have an author who was writing a fictionalized account of events, and a large part of that will be a reflection of the people and perceptions of that time period. I don’t think that this book needs to be removed from libraries and classrooms, but it should be read with lots of stops for discussion and even better would be to combine it with a great book from Louise Erdrich or Joseph Bruchac.
*Astute and observant readers will know that I have skipped #94, Swallows and Amazons. Rest assured, I will write about it just as soon as I get my hands on a copy.
Reviewed from public library copy. Amazon Affiliate: If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.