Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice.
MacMillan Publishing: NY, 1990.

Weasel paints a stark picture of Ohio frontier life in 1839. Eleven year old Nathan and his younger sister Molly have been waiting 6 days for their father to come back from hunting. They know something is wrong, but have no idea what to do about it. Then a man who can't talk shows up at their door, gesturing for them to follow. He has their father's locket, so they determine following will be the only way to find out about their pa. The man leads them to his wigwam, where their father is laying ill from a wound. They help to tend him, and he slowly recovers. In the process, they become friends of the man, Ezra, who has withdrawn from society, due to his experience with the Shawnee and the government policy at the time. Nathan goes back to the cabin to feed animals and is confronted by an infamous character who has been raiding settlers for years. Nathan escapes, but the event shapes his mental well being for sometime to come. Both his father and Ezra share ugly experiences with this person called Weasel. Their reactions are somewhat different than his, and the book is largely about Nathan's dealing with his experience.

The story is a strong depiction of a time all but forgotten. Ezra's character is a scintillating morsel. His tongue was long ago cut out by a scoundrel, and yet his personality shines with his mannerisms. The children quickly become attached to this quiet soul.

The feel of the book is so old and obsolete, but it is adventurous and philosophical to an extent rarely seen in young literature.

The story is very short; the words a low level. The topic is mature, but could work as a history tie in.

related-frontier and pioneer life, revenge, family and friendship, history of Ohio and United States

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