The Porcupine Year


Omakayas (12) and her brother Pinch are close. Traveling along the river, they find good fortune in a little porcupine who befriends them. Pinch - who was initially attacked by the porcupine - changes his name to Quill. Before long, Omakayas begins to wonder about their fortunes. Her brother and cousin are kidnapped by another tribe; survive the harsh winter en route to join their extended family in Lac du Bois; and the loss of Old Tallow, her grandmother.

Parent Perspective:
The story is poignant, funny, and at times heart wrenching. I found myself frustrated with trying to pronounce the Native American words and sometimes re-reading a passage from an earlier chapter trying to find details I seemed to miss. The Porcupine Year is part of a series, and while it can be read on its own, I think it would have been more enjoyable if I had read The Birchbark House first.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Plenty of adventure and endearing characters will engage readers and keep them turning the page.

Content Awareness Factors:

The vocabulary can be difficult. The phonetics in the glossary are helpful ... but it would be nice to see that up front so you know its there and available.

Parent Reaction
Type of Book:
This is the third book in this trilogy about a Native American girl and her family.
Educational Themes:

This is an historical fiction novel that would be an excellent complement to social studies and history classes, particularly as they relate to US expansion in the 1800s and Native American traditions and practices.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
8 to 12
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is an exceptional story that readers can come back to when they need comfort or a laugh.

Title The Porcupine Year
Author Louise Erdrich
Publisher HarperCollins Publishers © 2008
ISBN 9780060297879
Material Hard Cover
Cost $15.99
Genres Family, Historical Fiction, History, Coming of Age
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Other Reviews:

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