Bound To Stay Bound

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 Alchemy and Meggy Swann
 Author: Cushman, Karen

 Publisher:  Clarion (2010)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 167 p., map, 21 cm.

 BTSB No: 254057 ISBN: 9780547231846
 Ages: 10-14 Grades: 5-9

 People with disabilities -- Fiction
 Poverty -- Fiction
 Father-daughter relationship -- Fiction
 London (England) -- History -- Fiction

Price: $21.19

In 1573, the crippled, scorned, and destitute Meggy Swann goes to London and meets her father, a poor alchemist.

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Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 5.60
   Points: 6.0   Quiz: 136589
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 5.30
   Points: 11.0   Quiz: 49597

Common Core Standards 
   Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
   Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
   Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
   Grade 5 → Reading → RF Foundational Skills → 5.RF Phonics & Word Recognition
   Grade 5 → Reading → RF Foundational Skills → 5.RF Fluency
   Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
   Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
   Grade 5 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
   Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
   Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
   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 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
   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 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 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 (+) (03/15/10)
   School Library Journal (+) (04/01/10)
   Booklist (+) (03/01/10)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/10)
 The Hornbook (05/10)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 03/01/2010 *Starred Review* Feisty Meggy, sent from her mother’s village to live in London with the father she has never known, struggles with his evident disappointment when they meet. Not only lame, she is not the son he had expected. Initially, Meggy finds the city a horrible place, but slowly she begins to change her mind after making a few friends and helping her father a little with his alchemy work. When she learns that he has sold arsenic to men who intend to poison their master, she frantically seeks a way to save both the man from his murderers and her father from the law. An author’s note discusses the Elizabethan era, including its language, the publication of broadsides, the practice of alchemy, and lingering medieval attitudes toward disabled people. Because so many historical novels set in this period feature girls of royal or noble lineage, it’s bracing to meet Meg, who empties her own chamber pot into the ditch outside her door and trades strings of creative Elizabethan insults with Roger, her best friend. Writing with admirable economy and a lively ability to re-create the past believably, Cushman creates a memorable portrayal of a troubled, rather mulish girl who begins to use her strong will in positive ways. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 04/01/2010 Gr 5–8— Cushman adds another intrepid, resourceful, courageous girl to her repertoire in this tale set in 16th-century London. Meggy Swann, deformed since birth, walks with a halting gait using two sticks. Many believe she is cursed by the devil. The 13-year-old has lived in a small village over an alehouse run by her mother and has only ever felt love from her deceased grandmother. Now she has been sent for by her father in London. The astounding sights, sounds, and smells of the city accost her, and readers see and hear them all through Cushman's deft descriptive and cinematic prose. When her father finally sees her, he is disappointed to discover that she is just a disabled girl. Roger Oldham, her alchemist father's apprentice, is leaving to become a player and she is to take his place. Meggy meets a varied cast of characters, and Roger remains her good friend despite her ill-tempered treatment of him at times. Her father, whom she nicknames Master Peevish, is single-minded in his focus, oblivious to all else. In order to do his life's work, he needs money and Meggy overhears him plotting what she believes is a murder to obtain it. Fearing his head might wind up on a pole on London Bridge, she is determined to stop him. Her courage and confidence grow with each obstacle overcome. Cushman fans who loved Catherine, Called Birdy (1994) and The Midwife's Apprentice (1995, both Clarion) will not be disappointed.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2010 When Meggy’s father orders that the child he’s never met be sent to London for apprenticeship in his alchemy lab, he is expecting an able-bodied son. Instead he receives Meggy, a temperamental and feisty young girl whose “crooked legs” force her to rely on the help of walking sticks to get around. Meggy’s expectations of a wondrous city and a loving family are just as poorly met by the stinking cesspool that is sixteenth-century London and a father consumed by work and disgusted by her disability. As with her award-winning The Midwife’s Apprentice (BCCB 5/95), Cushman brings a distant historical setting-in this case, Elizabethan England-to life with evocative details and authentic dialogue. She never shies away from the harsh realties of the times, including its superstitions about disabilities and the resulting daily hardships facing someone with Meggy’s condition. “As friendly as a bag of weasels,” Meggy is not some doe-eyed victim, but a stubborn, resourceful heroine, and her spiky demeanor is all too understandable in the face of the insults and venom hurled at her. The relationships she forms as she navigates the dangers of the city are both believable and touching, and the love/hate connection she shares with a young theater player is infectiously humorous as they spar with sixteenth-century barbs (“Gleeking swag-bellied maggot”). With its barrage of “hithers” and “naughts,” the dialogue, while seemingly faithful to the time, teeters on the verge of overkill, but readers familiar with the author’s previous works and comfortable with historical fiction in general will find it easy enough to discern Meggy’s moving coming-of-age story. An extensive author’s note discusses factual and historical background for the story and provides suggestions for further reading. KQG - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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