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Author: Cushman, Karen
In medieval England, a nameless, homeless girl is taken in by a sharp-tempered midwife and, in spite of obstacles and hardship, eventually gains the three things she most wants: a full belly, a content heart, and a place in this world.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.00
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 11553
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 07644
Newbery Medal, 1996
Common Core Standards
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 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 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
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
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
Kirkus Reviews (+)
School Library Journal (+)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/00)
The Hornbook (+) (00/00)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/1995 Gr 6-9--With simplicity, wit, and humor, Cushman presents another tale of medieval England. Here readers follow the satisfying, literal and figurative journey of a homeless, nameless child called Brat, who might be 12 or 13--no one really knows. She wandered about in her early years, seeking food and any kind of refuge and, like many outsiders, gained a certain kind of wisdom about people and their ways. Still, life held little purpose beyond survival--until she meets the sharp-nosed, irritable local midwife, which is where this story begins. Jane takes her in, re-names her Beetle, and thinks of her as free labor and no competition. Always practical but initially timid, the girl expands in courage and self-awareness, acquiring a cat as a companion, naming herself Alyce, and gaining experience in the ways of midwifery. From the breathless delight of helping a boy to deliver twin calves, to the despair of failure during a difficult birth, to the triumph of a successful delivery, Alyce struggles to understand how she can allow herself to fail and yet have the determination to reach for her own place in the world. Alyce wins. Characters are sketched briefly but with telling, witty detail, and the very scents and sounds of the land and people's occupations fill each page as Alyce comes of age and heart. Earthy humor, the foibles of humans both high and low, and a fascinating mix of superstition and genuinely helpful herbal remedies attached to childbirth make this a truly delightful introduction to a world seldom seen in children's literature.--Sara Miller, Rye County Day School, NY - Copyright 1995 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/1995 *Starred Review* Like Cushman's 1994 Newbery Honor Book, Catherine, Called Birdy, this novel is about a strong, young woman in medieval England who finds her own way home. Of course, it's a feminist story for the 1990s, but there's no anachronism. This is a world, like Chaucer's, that's neither sweet nor fair; it's rough, dangerous, primitive, and raucous. Cushman writes with a sharp simplicity and a pulsing beat. From the first page you're caught by the spirit of the homeless, nameless waif, somewhere around 12 years old, "unwashed, unnourished, unloved, and unlovely," trying to keep warm in a dung heap. She gets the village midwife, Jane Sharp, to take her in, befriends a cat, names herself Alyce, and learns something about delivering babies. When she fails, she runs away, but she picks herself up again and returns to work and independence. Only the episode about her caring for a homeless child seems contrived. The characters are drawn with zest and affection but no false reverence. The midwife is tough and greedy ("she did her job with energy and some skill, but without care, compassion, or joy"), her method somewhere between superstition, herbal lore, common sense, and bumbling; yet she's the one who finally helps Alyce to be brave. Kids will like this short, fast-paced narrative about a hero who discovers that she's not ugly or stupid or alone. (Reviewed Mar. 15, 1995) - Copyright 1995 Booklist.