The game of silence

Louise Erdrich

Book - 2005

Nine-year-old Omakayas, of the Ojibwa tribe, moves west with her family in 1849.

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New York : HarperCollins 2005.
1st ed
Item Description
Sequel to The Birchbark House
Physical Description
xii, 256 p. : ill
Main Author
Louise Erdrich (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 5-8. Like its predecessor The Birchbark House (1999), this long-awaited sequel is framed by catastrophe, but the core of the story, which is set in 1850, is white settlers' threats to the traditional Ojibwe way of life. Omakayas is now nine and living at her beautiful island home in Lake Superior. But whites want Ojibwe off the island: Where will they go? In addition to an abundance of details about life through the seasons, Erdrich deals with the wider meaning of family and Omakayas' coming-of-age on a vision quest. Just on the edge of the child's daily life and coming ever closer are the whites--among them, a Catholic "soul-stealer" priest and a friendly teacher who helps the children learn to read and write both Ojibwe and English so that they can confront cheating white agents. Readers familiar with the first book will welcome the return of several richly drawn nonreverential characters, including Omakayas' pesky brother, her irritable mom, and her bold, tough mentor, Old Tallow. As Erdrich said in the Booklist Story Behind the Story, "Little House on the Lake" [BKL Ap 1 99], about The Birchbark House, her research into her ancestors revealed the horrifying history and also a culture rich, funny, and warm. In this heartrending novel the sense of what was lost is overwhelming. ((Reviewed May 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

PW said, "Like its sequel, The Birchbark House, this meticulously researched novel offers an even balance of joyful and sorrowful moments while conveying a perspective of America's past that is rarely found in history books." Ages 8-12. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This sequel to The Birchbark House continues the saga of Omakayas, now "nine winters old," a member of the Ojibwe tribe who reside on an island in Lake Superior. The tranquility of the little village is threatened when word arrives that white leaders are going to force Omakayas's people farther west into enemy territory. While some men from the tribe-including Omakayas's father and Fishtail, her sister's special friend-travel in different directions to investigate the rumor, the rest of the villagers remain. They struggle to regain normalcy by returning to their routine of hunting, fishing, weaving and gathering. Erdrich once again shows what is was like to grow up Native American during the same time period about which Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote. The unadorned narrative, sprinkled with ancient legends, clearly expresses not only the traditions and rituals of the Ojibwe but also their values and religious beliefs. Erdrich's pencil drawings (somewhat reminiscent of the style of Garth Williams's illustrations for the Little House series) capture the mood and spirit of such characters as Pinch, Omakayas's mischievous little brother and noble Old Tallow, who gives Omakayas a precious gift. Like its prequel, this meticulously researched novel offers an even balance of joyful and sorrowful moments while conveying a perspective of America's past that is rarely found in history books. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5-8-Omakayas's tale, begun in The Birchbark House (Hyperion, 1999), continues in this book. Older and more insightful, Omakayas begins to understand the elements of life more fully as she accepts her gift of telling dreams. Changes are coming to the Ojibwa people and she struggles to deal with all that she is experiencing and her dreams foretell. Her sister falls in love with a warrior, strange and lost members of her tribe come to rely on her, and her people are threatened with certain eviction from their homes and food supply. But traditions are strong, and after Omakayas is sent off into nature to face the spirits and her dreams, she learns to accept the fate of her people and comes to see it as an adventure, "the next life they would live together on this earth." Although the story is set on an island in Lake Superior in 1850, readers will identify with the everyday activities of the Ojibwa, from snowball fights to fishing excursions, providing a parallel to their own lives while encouraging an appreciation for one that is very different. The action is somewhat slow, but Erdrich's captivating tale of four seasons portrays a deep appreciation of our environment, our history, and our Native American sisters and brothers.-Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Nine-year-old Omakayas, of the Ojibwa tribe, moves west with her family in 1849.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Living with her family on an island in Lake Superior during the mid-1800s, a young Ojibwe girl, living a quiet and happy life with her family, begins to fear for the worst when the rumors that the white men are coming to remove her entire tribe from their land begins to gain more credence with every passing day.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, The Game of Silence is the second novel in the critically acclaimed Birchbark House series by New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich.Her name is Omakayas, or Little Frog, because her first step was a hop, and she lives on an island in Lake Superior. One day in 1850, Omakayas's island is visited by a group of mysterious people. From them, she learns that the chimookomanag, or white people, want Omakayas and her people to leave their island and move farther west. That day, Omakayas realizes that something so valuable, so important that she never knew she had it in the first place, could be in danger: Her way of life. Her home. The Birchbark House Series is the story of one Ojibwe family's journey through one hundred years in America. The New York Times Book Review raved about The Game of Silence: 'Erdrich has created a world, fictional but real: absorbing, funny, serious and convincingly human."