Midwife's Apprentice, The

by Karen Cushman | Children's Books |
ISBN: 006440630x Global Overview for this book
Registered by winghyphen8wing of Honolulu, Hawaii USA on 5/27/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winghyphen8wing from Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, May 27, 2006
A homeless young girl in medieval England, known only as Brat, sleeps in a dung heap for warmth. The village boys discover her and teasingly call her Dung Beetle, which is shortened to Beetle by Jane the village midwife. Beetle becomes Jane's hard-working apprentice and gradually gains sufficient self-confidence to choose a new name for herself - Alyce.

Things seem to be going well until Alyce has to confront failure, and she runs away. She finds a new life as an inn girl, washing dishes and doing odd jobs. Over the months she spends at the inn, she learns many new things, not least of which is who and what she really wants to be.

1996 Newbery Award Winner.

Other copies on my BC shelf:

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9867330 (audio)

Journal Entry 2 by wingghirwing from Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, May 28, 2006
Received at TOC lunch. Thank you for sharing!

I can't help but wonder if kids who read this might not be a bit confused since it never really says where a baby comes from or what a midwife does, specifically. Heck, anyone could yell at a mother-to-be and call out for herbs, why isn't the husband doing it?

I'm feeling some conflict about whether I'd recommend this book. While on the surface it has strong female characters, the attitude it has regarding sex is negative (sex is not mentioned openly at all, and the implied sex is wrong and the work of the Devil!) and the two main adult women are described as cruel and a cheat. Meanwhile, the boy characters (Will and Edward) are ridiculously idealized.

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