01 Little Tree

foot log – a log over a small stream used as a bridge
gullied – moving water that made a small ditch or ravine
plaited – braided
spewed – gushed
tow sack – a sack which is pulled or dragged behind

  1. Little Tree is a five-year-old orphan. When the family are discussing who is going to take care of the boy, Little Tree looks over the crowd and sees his Granpa looking at him. He inches over to Granpa and grabs onto his pant leg. Instinctively, Little Tree seems to understand that the best home for him is with Granpa and Granma. Why do you think Granpa stays on the fringes of the group and does not openly invite Little Tree into his home? How does Granpa’s behavior contribute the Little Tree’s decision to grab onto Granpa’s leg?
  2. What is Little Tree’s reaction when the people on the bus poke fun at Granpa because he is an Indian? What does this incident reveal to the reader about Little Tree’s character?
  3. Critics applaud Carter for his vivid descriptions of nature in this novel. He uses sensory images and often alliteration in these descriptions. For example, Little Tree describes the night as being “crackling cold.” Find another example of a description which utilizes one or both of these literary devices.
  4. How is Maud different from the other hounds?
  5. Briefly describe the cabin. Why is the gallery called a “dogtrot”?
  6. Who are Lay-nah, Min-e-lee, Kagu and Awi usdi? Why is Little Tree able to go to sleep this first night without crying?
  7. In what way does Granpa show that he understands how Little Tree feels after losing his mother? In what unspoken way does Granpa demonstrate his kind heart and affection for Little Tree?