This is a wonderful book that our
whole family enjoyed when we read it aloud
together. Erdrich writes from the heart
about the life of her 19th century Ojibwa
ancestors. The story is told through the
eyes of 10-year-old Omakayas, who is easy to
relate to because, although her lifestyle is
very different to the way most of us live
today, she is in so many ways a typical
child of any age - enjoying snowball fights
and fishing excursions, devoted to her pet
and reluctant to do her chores, eager to be
taken seriously but a little scared of the
responsibilities that come with growing up.
This is the second in a series that Erdrich plans to write tracing her family's history. The first book, The Birchbark House describes a year in the life of Omakayas' family when she is seven, this second book tells of another year when she is 10. It isn't necessary to have read the first book to enjoy the second.
I'm not aware of a date yet for the next in the series, but it may not be imminent - as there were about 4 years between the first and second books, and Erdrich is, of course, also busy with her books for adults, such as The Master Butcher's Singing Club, not to mention finding time to raise her children and help run the Birchbark bookstore in Minnesota!
Incidentally, the excerpt you can browse by clicking the link below is, like many others, exclusive to BookBrowse.
This review was originally published in August 2005, and has been updated for the June 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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