Title: The Indian SchoolThe Indian School
Author: Gloria Whelan
Illustrator: Gabriela Dellosso
Pages: 89
Reading Level: 8-12
Star Rating: ★★

A random Scholastic.

The Story.

Now that her parents are dead, Lucy is being sent to live with her aunt and uncle on the edge of civilization. Well, not quite the edge, but close. For Aunt Emma and Uncle Edward run a mission school for Indians, and that is where Lucy will live.

She likes the school – likes watching over the younger scholars and helping them with their work. And when Raven and Star Face arrive at the school, life gets even more interesting. For Raven refuses to conform to the ways of the school, refuses to accept the English name that Aunt Emma has chosen for her, refuses to be held in the confines of the school when there is a great world to be explored.

Who will win in this battle of wills?

Cautions.

Aunt Emma is a harsh woman who domineers over all those around her, including her husband, niece, and schoolchildren. Although Lucy is initially daunted by her, as she watches Raven’s defiance, she too begins to express herself more freely. She still preserves a semblance of respect, but is no longer compliant. In the end, the aunt unfolds, and she and Lucy resolve their relationship, but Lucy definitely has the upper hand.

While watching her aunt teach the Indian children, Lucy thinks what a pity it is that the Indians, not the white men should be the ones to change. The conclusion of the book reads,

“Raven had been to the school for Indians, but I had been to Indian school.” [pg. 89]

Lucy tells a lie on Page 61 and admits her falsehood on Page 64.

Conclusion. Mixed opinion. As historical fiction, it was better than many children’s stories, but it also presented convoluted relationships.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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