Makoons by Louise Erdrich | SLJ Review

redstarErdrich, Louise. Makoons. illus. by Louise Erdrich. 176p. (The Birchbark House Series: Bk. 5). ebook available. HarperCollins. Aug. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780060577933. Erdrich, Louise. Makoons

Gr 4-6 –In the newest addition to this series, Erdrich continues her excellent storytelling relating more adventures of a small clan of Ojibwe in the 1860s. Eight-year-old Makoons, or Little Bear, recovers from his heartsick-induced illness (as described in Chickadee [HarperCollins, 2012]) and dreams a vision full of joy and sorrow. Makoons and his twin, Chickadee, travel with their family from western Minnesota to the Dakota Territory in search of “the generous ones”—buffalo. The two boys are full of mischief, inseparable as they hunt, explore, and grow. They are also a great help to their family as they call the buffalo when the adults begin to despair at having a successful hunt. Information about hunting, packing, foraging, and preparing food is incredibly detailed, but in no way tedious. The family work together tirelessly, knowing their survival depends on it. Ojibwe culture, language, and customs are interwoven throughout. Character development is a great strength in Erdrich’s writing; she has a knack for creating humorous and endearing characters, and this story is no exception. Pencil drawings throughout, especially those of Makoons learning to ride a horse and hunt, help readers visualize the narrative. As the plot progresses, Makoons changes in a surprising way, bringing the heartbreaking fulfillment of his dream. This beautiful novel is quick moving and deeply affecting. VERDICT Readers will thoroughly enjoy following Makoons and learning about Ojibwe life.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

This review was published in the School Library Journal March 2016 issue.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing