Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sweetgrass Basket

Marlene Carvell's free verse novel features sisters who have been sent to school away from their Native American tribe. At book's beginning there is a short paragraph explaining a bit about this practice which I found fascinating. Told alternatively between Sarah and Mattie, the two girls struggle with loneliness, all the while grieving for their mother who has died. When Mattie is wrongly accused of taking some jewelry she is devastated and runs away.

This was a very fast read, and while I have read some good reviews about it, I was disappointed in it. I was hoping that the setting would be a primary focus and I really wanted to learn more about what the school experience was like for Native Americans who were sent away to school. Instead this story focused mostly on the sisters and the way they felt about being at school. The rest of the story focused on Mattie's reaction to being accused of theft. For young readers I could see how the plot would be confusing to them, and they would automatically think that Mattie and Sarah's experience was universal.

Overall, there was nothing really wrong with this one, but my reaction is only lukewarm.


fourth musketeer said...

Does this one take place in the early 1900's? There's another new novel dealing with two Native American kids who run away from the school they are sent to, a debut novel called Starfish by James Crowley. I was disappointed in that one as well (haven't reviewed it on my blog yet).

Dana Alma said...

Hey you, just stopping by on the hop and follow. Have a great New Year. Happy Reading!!!
See ya!
Readaholics Anonymous