Michael Dorris Guests

ISBN 13: 9780786813568

Guests

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9780786813568: Guests
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Moss and Trouble, an Algonquin boy and girl, struggle with the problems of growing up in the Massachusetts area during the time of the first Thanksgiving

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From Booklist:

Gr. 4-7. Without portentous stereotypes, Dorris tells a story of a Native American boy who leaves home to find himself. Moss isn't sure why he walks away into the forest. His life seems stale. What's more, he's mad at his father for inviting a group of white strangers to be guests at the village harvest festival. Lost and alone, Moss opens up to the natural world and becomes "the forest's welcomed guest." He meets a fierce runaway girl, and they help each other get home. Moss knows that he hasn't encountered a noble mentor on his vision quest; he hasn't suddenly become "a man." What he has found is a new view of himself and the world around him. He realizes he has been selfish and inhospitable. And now he can see that neither the guests nor the village hosts are comfortable at the feast. They can't understand each other. The strangers are hungry, but why are they so greedy and grasping? Even for a sensitive boy, Moss seems too articulate about his inner journey. But Dorris dramatizes that universal experience of feeling stuck at home, as well as the excitement of finding what you didn't know was there. As in Morning Girl (1993), the encounter with Europeans is seen through the eyes of a young person. Several stirring old creation stories woven into the narrative underline Moss' quest for both freedom and responsibility. Dorris' casual sentences are simple and beautiful, showing in their very particularity that Moss discovers the wonder of familiar things. Hazel Rochman

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-6-Moss's father extends his hospitality to a group of strangers who speak an entirely different language and who make the boy "uncomfortable with their oddness." When his efforts to convince his parents that the guests should not participate in his people's harvest feast are rebuked, Moss runs away into the nearby forest. There he meets Trouble, a distant relative, and in trying to impress her, finds himself forced into his "away time." Lost in the woods, he learns to look and listen, and begins to realize what it means to be a man during an encounter with a porcupine. He also finds solace in his conversations with Trouble, who eventually helps him find his way out of the forest. Though she is struggling with the strictures placed upon young women in her clan, they share universal early adolescent emotions about the lack of understanding their families afford them. Dorris's writing is elegant, full of evocative images and lush metaphors. He develops his intriguing characters in a leisurely way, and places little emphasis on plot. Young readers will need to work hard to piece together the clues that suggest the setting (someplace by the sea) and the identity of the guests (probably white settlers since they arrived after following a "trail through the sea"). They will be able to comprehend the words, but some may miss the story's ultimate meaning.
Ellen Fader, Oregon State Library, Salem
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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