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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Summer of the Bear

By Leigh A. Arrathoon
Paint Creek Press, Ltd.

620 Miller Ave.
Rochester, MI 48307

Summer of the Bear is a historical novel about the Anishinabeg people and the fur traders in Michigan. The history of the story comes alive and is one teenagers can relate to as it pertains to the choices they face. This coming-of-age story is peppered with adventure elements that also aid young people in learning solid values that they can carry into their adult life. A Summer of the Bear Workbook is sold as well, but it can only be purchased with a book order. The workbook has a variety of multiple choice and matching activities.

Summer of the Bear targets the 8th grade social studies curriculum, but would be appropriate for ages 12 and up for either social studies or pleasure reading. The book can be read alone or used in conjunction with the workbook. I found the reading to be easy to follow and the subject to be very interesting. The activities in the workbook were appropriate and on target with the subject of the story.

The book sells for $19.95 when purchased one at a time. I thought this was a bit pricey. The price goes down as the number of books purchased increases. The book does come with a nice glossy paperback cover, and it did receive the State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan. Study guides are now on the website and can be downloaded for free. The guide described above is available for $7.50.

All in all, I believe Summer of the Bear is a great historical read from which anyone, age 12 and up, would benefit. It will surely enrich your knowledge of the culture of the Anishinabeg people, our country and beyond.

Product review by Christy Sensenig, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September 2009

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