Synopses & Reviews
In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists—a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer—and learns that others are more adept than he at lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last Will is forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that he has been his own worst deceiver. The rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England is the colorful backdrop for Newbery medalist Cushman's new comic masterpiece.
"Impudent, headstrong, and 'a liar and a thief,' 12-year-old Will Sparrow is also a hero to remember in this rousing story from Newbery Medalist Cushman (The Midwife's Apprentice), set in Elizabethan England. Abandoned by his mother and sold by his alcoholic father to an abusive innkeeper in exchange for unlimited ale, Will soon winds up on the dangerous open road. Will tries to outsmart a stellar cast of thieves, tricksters, and con artists underestimating all of them and getting taken advantage of repeatedly. He eventually finds a place on the circuit of fairs with Master Tidball and his caravan of 'oddities and prodigies,' which includes 'the world's smartest pig' and a whiskered woman billed as half-cat ('It seemed to Will that Master Tidball made a good living for someone who did nothing but watch others work. Will himself could do that, he thought'). Offering action, humor, and heart in equal doses, Cushman's story is, at its core, about creating and claiming a family of one's own. Readers will be ready to follow Will anywhere from the very first page. Ages 10 14. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Newbery medalist Karen Cushman, the adventures of a lovable rogue and vagabond—a perfect picaresque.
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."
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.
In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Chulpo, a potters' village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potters craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Mins irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Mins work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.
Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski is the new face in Karen Cushmans gallery of unforgettable heroines. One of a group of orphans, 12-year-old Rodzina boards a train on a cold day in March 1881. Shes reluctant to leave Chicago, the only home she can remember, and she knows theres no substitute for the family she has lost. She expects to be adopted and turned into a slaveor worse, not to be adopted at all.
As the train rattles westward, Rodzina unwittingly begins to develop attachments to her fellow travelers, even the frosty orphan guardian, and to accept the idea that there might be good homes for orphansmaybe even for a big, combative Polish girl. But no placement seems right for the formidable Rodzina, and she cleverly finds a way out of one bad situation after another, until at last she finds the family that is right for her.
Once again, Karen Cushman brings us a compelling story that is thoroughly researched, full of memorable characters, and told with wry humor and keen observation by an absolutely captivating narrator. Afterword.
Francine Green doesnt speak up much, and who can blame her? Her parents arent interested in her opinions, the nuns at school punish girls who ask too many questions, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities is blacklisting people who express unpopular ideas. Theres safety in silence. Francine would rather lose herself in a book, or in daydreams about her favorite Hollywood stars, than risk attracting attention or getting in trouble.
But when outspoken, passionate Sophie Bowman transfers into Francines class at All Saints School for Girls, Francine finds herself thinking about things that never concerned her beforefree speech, the atom bomb, the existence of God, the way people treat each other. Eventually, Francine discovers that she not only has something to say, she is absolutely determined to say it.
Once again, Karen Cushman follows a young womans progress toward her true self, this time exploring the nature of friendship and the experience of growing up Catholic in an era that is both fascinating and relevant to todays young people. Authors note.
About the Author
Karen Cushman was born in Chicago, Illinois and lives now on Vashon Island west of Seattle, Washington. She received an M.A. in human behavior and one in museum studies. Ms. Cushman has had a lifelong interest in history. She says, "I grew tired of hearing about kings, princes, generals, presidents. I wanted to know what ordinary life was like for ordinary young people in other times." Research into medieval English history and culture led to the writing of her first two novels, the Newbery Honor book CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY and the Newbery Medal-winner THE MIDWIFE'S APPRENTICE. She is also the author of MATILDA BONE, THE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE and, most recently, RODZINA.