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|Crispin : the cross of lead|
Falsely accused of theft and murder, an orphaned peasant boy in fourteenth-century England flees his village and meets a larger-than-life juggler who holds a dangerous secret.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 58513
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 6.10
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 29846
Newbery Medal, 2003
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RF Foundational Skills → 5.RF Fluency
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/02)
School Library Journal (+) (06/02)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (10/02)
The Hornbook (09/02)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2002 In the midst of his grief over his mother’s death, the thirteen-year-old boy known only as “Asta’s son” finds himself caught up in circumstances he cannot understand. John Aycliffe, steward of the boy’s poor fourteenth-century village in the long absence of the crusading Lord Furnival, has declared the boy a “wolf’s head” (less than human) for a crime he did not commit, thereby sentencing him to certain death. The boy finds an ally in the village priest, who informs him that his real name is Crispin and who promises to tell him of his origin. When the priest is murdered, Crispin flees for his life, on the road meeting up with Bear, a traveling performer, to whom Crispin becomes an apprentice. Bit by bit Crispin discovers the truth of his origins: he is the bastard son of Lord Furnival, and Aycliffe wishes him dead to keep him from making a claim on the lord’s estate. The book’s conclusion is abrupt and the resolution insufficiently grounded, but the rest of the book is a hearty ramble. Avi conjures the atmosphere of the medieval English landscape by concentrating on that world’s physical details (especially the smells), yet it’s also clear from Crispin’s narration, wherein he constantly defers to the will of God, the overwhelming role that religion played in the life of the medieval peasant. The pace is quick, and the boy’s change from cowed serf to courageous hero is logical and believable. This picaresque adventure will appeal to young medievalists as well as serving as an entry point to discussions of life in the Middle Ages. - Copyright 2002 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2002 Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. - Copyright 2002 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/15/2002 In his fiftieth book, (see interview) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a wolf's-head, which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. - Copyright 2002 Booklist.