(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Last Algonquin is an interesting book on many levels and for several reasons. First, it is a fascinating story in which a twelve-year-old boy is befriended by an elderly Indian living alone on an island, who teaches him Indian lore and skills, and tells him of the adventures he had when he was a young man. The Last Algonquin is also an interesting book because, without being preachy or overly didactic, it opens up to the reader a vision of history that is lively and relevant, not dry or boring. It shows the reader, not just tells the reader, how each of us is indeed an integral part of an continuing story called history. As such, it is a book that can spark in the reader the same deep and abiding interest in history that Two Trees inspired in the Kazimiroffs.

The term "Algonquin" may cause some confusion because of its several and overlapping meanings. In its narrowest sense, it is a variant of the Iroquois name—"Algonkin"—for a neighboring group of tribes in what is now Ontario, Canada, and it indicates the same group of tribes. In the largest sense, it means any of large group of tribes which speaks one of the many languages in the Algonquin group of languages. This meaning of the word would include tribes as far from the setting of this book as the Shawnee in Oklahoma and the Yurok in California. In the middle of these two extremes is the meaning that the author of The Last Algonquin intends: a group of tribes,...

(The entire section is 460 words.)