Elizabeth George Speare’s The Sign of the Beaver is set in Maine in 1768, and is the story of a boy’s survival under difficult conditions. When Matt’s father leaves to bring back the rest of their family from Massachusetts, the twelve-year-old boy is in charge of the family land and home. Through a series of mishaps, Matt finds himself short of food. An Indian man, and his grandson Attean, rescues Matt from a near-drowning, and a friendship quickly develops between the two boys. Matt and Attean share their skills with the other, with Matt helping Attean learn how to read English, and Attean divulging survival mechanisms. When the Beaver People are preparing to leave for the winter, Matt is invited to go along with them, though he realizes that he must stay and wait for his family. While he is alone, he practices the skills he has learned, hunting, tanning hides, and making clothing. When his family finally returns, having been delayed by illness and loss, they look forward to spring and the building of a nearby town. Speare’s novel has garnered critical acclaim for her adept spinning of a survival tale, especially appropriate for middle school readers with its historical context of colonial America.