Indian Captive by Lois Lenski

Veronica Juback- Historical Fiction Project- Smith P3

Annotated Book Review

In the Historical Fiction novel Indian Captive by Lois Lenski, 12 year-old Molly Jemison must live with the Indians and obey in order to survive and have a chance of getting home. But in this trip she has leaned many things about the earth, its plants, and its creatures. Author Lois Lenski is a winner of the 1946 Newberry Medal for her Strawberry book. Overall, I thought this book was great.

In Indian Captive, Molly gets captured by the Indians and taken to different Indian camps. When she first got there they were looking at her features and trading her to other Indians. They were trying to turn her into one of them. For starters, they threw her old clothes that her mother made for her, braided her hair, put red paint patterns on her face, and put her to work right away. But, over the time that she spent with the Indians, she learned their language and how to communicate with them. She also learned things about earth, its plants, and its creatures. She saw how to look at things differently and to see the good that the object or creature has brought into this world. She also had to learn how to withstand pain and gain strength. For example, she had to carry babies on her head in a basket for long ways and had to keep going even if her neck was in pain. Molly has the chance to return back to the whites and her family. But she had become a sister to the Indians and have been living and growing with them. Could she leave them and return home?

Author Lois Lenski knows how to hold my interest and attention throughout the book. In the beginning it was a little slow and confusing then everything started coming together. Lois Lenski always adds suspense when it gets uneventful. For example, when Molly went to fetch the water and nothing was happening until the author added a little suspense by making her try to run away and go back home but she got lost and this is when she met Little Turtle. Lois knows how to hold my attention because I couldn’t pry myself away from the book. The major theme of Indian Captive is that you have to have courage and strength to get through challenges in life.

The historical setting in Indian Captive is mainly at Seneca village on the Genesee River. At first it started at her family’s farm in Eastern Pennsylvania in 1758. Then, once the Indians invaded they took Molly to southern Ohio and later to a Seneca village on the Genesee River which in present time is New York. I enjoyed when Molly started to adapt to the Indian’s ways and learn so much about nature and the earth. She started to feel at home with the Indians and see them as family. I also enjoyed the part in Indian Captive where Turkey Feather (Little Turtle) helped Molly understand the Indian language and all he wanted was for her to be happy. Turkey Feather did everything he could to protect her and keep her informed on what was going on at the Seneca village. I admired on how Lois Lenski wrote in the old fashioned way with ways the Indians would actually say something like that. If she didn’t do this it would not be as interesting and accurate. In Indian Captive, the part that bothered me was in the beginning when they really didn’t explain anything. They just started with the dad telling Molly to go fetch the neighbor’s horse. It was very confusing at this part but, once it got further in the chapter I began to understand what was going on. I wish the author explained what was going on in the beginning better. For example, say who Molly was and who her family was and her lifestyle. If Lois Lenski did this, I think this would help a lot of other readers in the beginning.

Overall, I really liked Indian Captive. I thought it was a very informational interesting piece. The major theme of Indian Captive is that you have to have courage and strength to get through challenges in life. I think this is a good lesson and theme of this book. I would rate this book 4 stars. Yes, I would recommend this book and I would recommend this book to my friend Sophia Haag because she loves reading historical books and I think she would like this book very much.

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Short Informative Piece

In Indian Captive, there is a character called Little Turtle. “Little Turtle, the Indian boy, heard the faltering words and hurried faster. The new captive girl was singing. She was singing a strange song of the white people. She must be happy today. She had put her sorrow aside at last.”

All Little Turtle wants is for Molly to be happy and not wish to go home but can’t and be sad. He devotes all he has to make her happy. Little Turtle was an actual Indian from the 1758 Indian times. He was a chief of the Miami and most famous Native American military leaders of his time. In the book and in real life he was a great Indian who helped and kept everything together.

Indian Music

Short Narrative Written in the Main Character's Voice

Mary Jemison

Dear Diary,

Today the cross Indian women sent me to get a bucket of water from a pond in the woods. I didn’t want to go and I could barely understand anything she was saying either. But, I got the hint when she kicked me in the legs and pointed towards the woods. So, I scurried into the woods not looking back hoping the cross women wasn’t chasing after me. Once I got deep in the woods, I stopped to take a breath and walked slowly to the pond. I finally made it to the pond, not knowing where I was exactly, prepping to fill the bucket. Once I filled the bucket I had this idea rush through my head. To. Run. Away. I miss my family so much and just want to go back to them. I will take any chance I have to make my way back to my family. So, I start running and running until I couldn’t anymore. I didn’t know where I was I just missed my family so much. I just collapsed and lay down there hoping for help. Then, I hear something in the woods. My heart beats so fast. All these thoughts go through my heads. What if it is the cross women? What will she do to me? Is it a dangerous animal? Then, something interrupted my thoughts. Someone shot and arrow. Not at me but I saw where it went. Then, I see a person staring at me through the bushes. It looked like an Indian boy. I didn’t know if he meant any harm towards me. The boy started coming towards me and my heart still pounding. Then he comforts me. He just wants to help me. He takes me back to my bucket full of water and runs and signals me to run after him back to the camp. We occasionally looks back to make sure I am still following him. Once I got back to camp the cross Indian women kicked me again and tried to tell me with hand signals that I took too long. I soon figured out that I met Little Turtle.

, 1758

Historical Accuracy

Lois Lenski stated the historical accuracy very well. She said what year and where they were during that time. In Indian Captive, they are in year 1758 and start off in eastern Pennsylvania and then to southern Ohio and end up in western New York which was a Seneca village on the Genesee River in 1758. She also wrote in the way they would talk during that time period.

C ourage

A djusting

P atience

T hought

I ntelligence

V ain

E scape

Found Poem

Pg. 199 "How can you bear to listen to her cries and groans?"

Pg. 199 " Torn away from her loving family, she has been brought from the light of freedom to the darkness of captivity."

Pg. 200 "Was Red Bird the only Indian women who, on a day like this, stayed in her lodge because she has kindness in her heart?"

Pg. 251 "A girl's first pot is always the most beautiful in the world.

Pg. 295 "Then she remembered the Englishman's words."

Can you bear to listen to her cries and groans,

brought from the light of freedom

to the darkness of captivity,

she has kindness in heart,

the most beautiful in the world,

remembered the Englishman's words.

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Notes & Citations

Allegheny River

· Paraphrasing: The Allegheny River is a principal tributary of the Ohio River; it is located in the Eastern United States. They took Molly here.


· Paraphrasing: The Indians depend on corn to eat and build with.


· Paraphrasing: The Indians get their names by what they do or what talents they have


· Paraphrasing: an American Indian

Fort Duquesne

· Paraphrasing: Fort Duquesne was a fort established by the French in 1754, at the convergence point of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. This is where one of their Seneca camps was and where Molly learned and lived mostly.

Indians gave them moccasins to walk in

· Paraphrasing: this helped them to make their feet to not hurt as much as walking bare foot

Indians took them to a Seneca village on the Genesee River

· Paraphrasing: The Genesee River is a tributary of Lake Ontario flowing northward through the Twin Tiers of Pennsylvania and New York in the United States. This is also a spot they took their hostages.

Works Cited

"Little Turtle." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <>.

"Lois Lenski." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <>.

"Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present." American Library Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <>.