corner corner Catherine, Called Birdy


Catherine, Called Birdy
by Karen Cushman | Children's Books
Registered by dancing-dog of Cordova, Tennessee USA on 8/21/2008
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by yokaye): to be read

3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by dancing-dog from Cordova, Tennessee USA on Thursday, August 21, 2008

9 out of 10

This unusual book provides an insider's look at the life of Birdy, 14, the daughter of a minor English nobleman. The year is 1290 & the vehicle for storytelling is the girl's witty, irreverent diary. She looks with a clear & critical eye upon the world around her, telling of the people she knows & of the daily events in her small manor house. Much of Birdy's energy is consumed by avoiding the various suitors her father chooses for her to marry. She sends them all packing with assorted ruses until she is almost wed to an older, unattractive man she refers to as Shaggy Beard. In the process of telling the routines of her young life, Birdy lays before readers a feast of details about medieval England. The book is rich with information about the food, dress, religious beliefs, manners, health, medical practices, & sanitary habits (or lack thereof) of the people of her day. From the number of fleas she kills in an evening to her herbal medicines laced with urine, Birdy reveals fascinating facts about her time period. A feminist far ahead of her time, she is both believable and lovable.
I enjoyed this book. I like that it was written in first-person diary format - very readable. After Birdy obtained the book of saints, I enjoyed the sometimes crazy descriptions of the saint's day along with her comments. It was interesting to note the superstitions, mis-beliefs & common practices of medieval England. I liked the independent spirit that the author gave Birdy despite the actual harshness of living in those times. I won't spoil the ending but I'm not sure I really thought it was realistic although I do think this would have been a hard book to know how to end.

This is off to spacedog, part of the Newbery Medal bookrings.

Newbery Medal Bookring
back to dancing-dog

Journal Entry 2 by spacedog from Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, September 06, 2008

This book has not been rated.

got today. in the middle of a long book, but planning on getting to this in the next couple of weeks. thanks! 

Journal Entry 3 by spacedog from Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, October 18, 2008

7 out of 10

i enjoyed this book which provides tons of factual information about the time period (including customs and holidays) as well as highlighting the harsh conditions (fleas, arranged marriages, the rarity of bathing and washing, the extreme dangers of childbirth, etc.). the saints' descriptions quickly grew tedious for me though, and there were several times i wished the narrative had more plot instead of just being a day-by-day account. the rebelliousness of the main character also seemed highly unlikely for the time period, but i guess it's just one of those things you have to accept as a plot device. all in all i liked this better than -the midwife's apprentice- and i liked how it provides a much more realistic view of the time period than the usual "knights and ladies" fantasies, and it did spark my interest in reading more books set in the time period.

off to the next reader when i get her address. 

Journal Entry 4 by yokaye on Friday, November 07, 2008

This book has not been rated.

arrived safely, will read ASAP! Thanks! 

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