Kirsten on the Trail

Written by Valerie Tripp, illustrations by Renee Graef and Kim Lewis


Kirsten is thrilled to find a gift from Singing Bird when she goes to get water. Her secret friend is back! Her tribe's attempt to find better hunting grounds was in vain; Singing Bird looks very thin. The girls arrange a time to meet again. But Peter also saw Singing Bird, and Kirsten isn't sure she can trust him with the secret. Sure enough, he blurts it out within minutes of arriving home. Kirsten is forbidden to see Singing Bird again, because while the two girls might be friendly with each other, Kirsten's parents are worried that other Native Americans might be violent. Kirsten yells at Peter for spoiling her secret, and Peter runs away.

Kirsten has to fetch more water, conveniently at the same time she and Singing Bird had arranged to meet. Singing Bird is able to follow Peter's tracks and find him, scared and tired but safe. The girls take Peter back to the Larsons', where Kirsten introduces Singing Bird to her parents and tells them how she saved Peter. Her parents see that at least some Native Americans are trustworthy, and everyone sits down to eat.

Looking Back

This section is about the Sioux. I didn't know that they were nomadic, moving around different locations depending on the season to hunt meat, make maple sugar, and plant crops. It also talks about the artistry with which the women decorated things with dyed porcupine quills. Another few paragraphs get a little "noble savage" but on the whole it's an interesting read.


Oh, nice! I was wondering what tribe Singing Bird belonged to. According to the Looking Back section, she's Sioux, specifically of the Dakota portion.

When Kirsten's parents suggest that Peter might be kidnapped by the Sioux or Ojibwa, Kirsten thinks to herself that they're too smart to want him. That's such a ten-year-old sister thing to think.

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