Chula the Fox

160p. White Dog Pr. Oct. 2018. pap. $17.95. ISBN 9781935684626.
RedReviewStarGr 4–6—An adolescent Chickasaw boy starts down the path to adulthood in this middle grade historical novel. Chula and his tight-knit family are grieving the sudden loss of Chula's father, killed in a surprise attack by neighboring Choctaws. Determined to avenge his father's death, Chula seeks the guidance and support of his Uncle Lheotubby to learn to become a warrior. But with his emotions still raw, and a bullying peer antagonizing him, Chula struggles to attain the level of focus and composure required to join the men on their raid. Will he succeed in laying his father's spirit to rest, and will revenge provide the peace he seeks? Chickasaw author Perry authentically captures the blend of bravado and insecurity common in young teens. The richly drawn 18th-century setting illuminates both daily life in a Chickasaw village as well as the rituals and traditions marking significant events in a year. Throughout, the narrative remains focused on the Indigenous community, with the white settler population only peripherally present. Chula's questions about the qualities that define manhood will resonate with readers and provide scope for discussion.
VERDICT Succinct and engaging, this coming-of-age story is a necessary addition to library collections.

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