Synopses & Reviews
In her long-awaited new novel, Newbery medalist Karen Cushman assembles a cast of unforgettable characters in a fascinating and pungent setting: the medical quarter of a medieval English village. To Blood and Bone Alley, home of leech, barber-surgeon, and apothecary, comes Matilda, raised by a priest to be pious and learned, and now destined to assist Red Peg the Bonesetter. To Matildas dismay, her work will not involve Latin or writing, but lighting the fire, going to market, mixing plasters and poultices, and helping Peg treat patients. Matilda is appalled by the worldliness of her new surroundings and yearns for the days at the manor when all she did was study and pray. Lonely and misunderstood, she seems destined for a fate as tragic as that of any of the sharp-tongued saints she turns to for advice.
Filled with the witty dialogue and richly authentic detail that Karen Cushmans work is known for, Matilda Bone is a compelling comic novel about a girl who learns to see herself and others clearly, to laugh, and to live contentedly in this world. Authors note.
"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." Booklist
"Meggy is a heroine in mind and deed. Cushman has the uncanny ability to take a time and place so remote and make it live.... A gem." Kirkus Reviews
"Cushman adds another intrepid, resourceful, courageous girl to her repertoire in this tale set in 16th-century London....Cushman fans...will not be disappointed." School Library Journal
"Cushman brings a distant historical setting...to life with evocative details and authentic dialogue. She never shies away from the harsh realities of the times." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
(1995, both Clarion) will not be disappointed
"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."--Booklist, starred review
"Queen Elizabeth I is on the throne. London is a sprawling, chaotic city that teems with all manner of humanity. Meggy has come to London ostensibly to serve her alchemist father, a man she has never met. When he rejects her because she is not male and because she is unable to walk normally, she needs all her pluck and determination to rise above her plight...Cushman has the uncanny ability to take a time and place so remote and make it live. Readers can hear and see and smell it all as if they are right beside Meggy. She employs the syntax and vocabulary of the period so easily that it is understood as if its the most contemporary modern slang. A gem."--Kirkus, starred review
"Cushman adds another intrepid, resourceful, courageous girl to her repertoire in this tale set in 16th-century London...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"--School Library Journal, starred review
"Cushman's (Catherine, Called Birdy) newest novel has all the elements that have made her earlier books so beloved. With flawless historical prose, Cushman introduces Meggy Swann....There is no unequivocally happy ending for Meggy, but a better life awaits her, and readers will gladly accompany her on the journey."--Publishers Weekly
"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. . . . 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 childrens literature."
School Library Journal, Starred
"This novel is about a strong, young woman in medieval England who finds her own way home. . . . Kids will be caught up in this short, fast-paced narrative about a hero who discovers that shes not ugly or stupid or alone."
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"This unusual book provides an insiders look at the life of Birdy, 14, the daughter of a minor English nobleman. The year is 1290 and the vehicle for storytelling is the girls witty, irreverent diary. . . . Superb historical fiction." —School Library Journal, Starred
"The period has rarely been presented for young people with such authenticity; the exotic details will intrigue readers while they relate more closely to Birdys yen for independence and her sensibilities toward the downtrodden. Her tenacity and ebullient naiveté are extraordinary; at once comic and thought-provoking, this first novel is a delight." —Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
"This humorous, frank look at life in the medical quarters in medieval times shows readers that love and compassion, laughter and companionship, are indeed the best medicine." School Library Journal, Starred
The "fascinating information [in the afterword] is just as interesting as Matilda's tale." Horn Book
Editor's Pick. Highly Recommended. "It has become my favorite Cushman book." Book Report
"The plight of thirteen-year-old Matilda will capture readers' imaginations and hearts." VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"Reader's who've appreciated Cushman's medieval visions will want to travel back with her again here." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Fans of Karen Cushman's witty, satisfying novels will welcome Meggy Swann, newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Meggy's mother was glad to be rid of her; her father, who sent for her, doesn't want her after all. Meggy is appalled by London, dirty and noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in--not that getting around is ever easy for someone who walks with the help of two sticks.Just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation. Earthy and colorful, Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has gifts in store for Meggy Swann.
Meggy Swann is newly arrived in Elizabethan London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation, in this new novel by Newbery Medalist Cushman.
Catherine, a spirited and inquisitive young woman of good family, narrates in diary form the story of her fourteenth year--the year 1290. A Newbery Honor Book.
From the author of Catherine, Called Birdy comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval England. The girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the sharp-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat--who renames herself Alyce--gains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life: "A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world." Medieval village life makes a lively backdrop for the funny, poignant story of how Alyce gets what she wants. A concluding note discusses midwifery past and present. A Newbery Medal book.
Karen Cushman's Newbery Medal-winning classic about a young girl with no family, no home, and no future who becomes the apprentice of a midwife and finally learns to want something from life: "A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world."
Another winning Elizabethan-era novel with an incomparable heroine by Newbery medalist Karen Cushman. With witty dialogue and richly authentic detail, Cushman tells the story of a pious and learned girl who is transported from her days of study and prayer at the manor to become a bonesetter's assistant in the slums of a medieval English village.
About the Author
Newbery Medalist Karen Cushman has written many critically acclaimed novels for young readers. She lives in Washington State.