Some reviewers have said that Catherine sounds more like a modern American teenager than a medieval maiden. Well, that's because our idea of what a typical medieval maiden was really like was tainted by the Victorians. Females were not the "damsels in distress" we like to think they were. Women, even teen women, in the middle ages were land-owners, proud of their sexuality, and not afraid to speak their minds with no recrimination.
That being said, Catherine IS a typical medieval maiden. Learned, God-fearing to a point, outspoken, and proud. She doesn't want to marry who her father wants her to marry and wants to make up her own mind.
Her diary entries are hilariously funny and often mention her new ways of swearing ("corpus bones" and "God's thumbs", for example). As an adult, I loved to read her snarky writing about her lout of a father and her ways of sneaking out of work and chores...reminds me of my students!
Very deserving of all the awards it has earned and will turn your idea of what the middle ages were really like upside down.
This is one of the more kid-friendly Newberry books--so many in the past decade or so are the kind of books kids *have* to read in school but may not want to. The drama/suspense of what will happen to Birdy next, plus the weirdness of the historical details, should make it compelling even for kids who might normally not be into historical fiction. Birdy is a fun and strong protagonist. I loved it as an adult.
There must be something of a child in me to so enjoy this book written in the form of Catherine's diary or maybe it's the wit and talent of the author who makes this young woman sound lke children I know and love. I chuckle again and again as I read about Catherine's efforts to avoid betrothal! Cushman write about this period for young girls so that they can in some way understand how life must have been for them. Cathernine, the girl presented in this novel is a mischievous tomboy in every sense of the word. A worthwhile read indeed.
A real look at what life would be like if you had been a princess in the olden times. Picking fleas off yourself. Your own room complete with straw on the floor and no glass in the window and a father who wants to marry you off to some old geezer because it is advantageous to him. Catherine however has other ideas about her life.
An interesting tale of a young, spirited woman that wants a part in the events in which happen to her. She's of the age to be married off (an arranged marriage) and her adventures sure are worth the enjoyment of reading. A fun surprise ending. I enjoyed it and it was a fun read. I'm not sure her behavior would have been tolerated in Medieval times but as the bumper sticker states "well-behaved women rarely make history" - or something like that anyway.
Ms. Cushman did a great job of making Birdy come alive. I really felt for her in her dilema of not wanting to marry a much older man whom she didn't love. The journal style was very easy to read. I thoughly enjoyed this book and learned some things about life in the middle ages.
This is an interesting book set in Medieval times ... of a girl who's trying to avoid being married to the pig her father has chosen for her. She writes humorous diary entries over this year of growing up time.
If you took Caddie Woodlawn in her teen years and dropped her into the middle ages, you might end up with something like this book. Cushman captures adolescence well, but Birdy seems more like a modern American than a medieval Brit. Still, a fun read.
The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off
The story is told through the diary of Catherine, the 13 year old daughter of a medieval knight. She goes by the nickname Birdy after the pet birds she keeps in her chamber. Her father is trying to marry her off to increase his wealth but all Birdy longs for is adventure. Through several resourceful tricks she she scares off most of the suitors her father has chosen, until her compassion for a wounded animal, and her unselfishness toward a village couple, traps her into a betrothal with the older Shaggy Beard .
The book is filled with historical information about the food, religion, medical practices and herbal remedies, lack of cleanliness, and social order of medieval people. Cushman does a good job realistically portraying issues of the time such as, child marriages, death, miscarriages, and that marriages of the time were based on economics not love. At the heart of the story is Birdys realization that she cannot escape what the future has in store for her, but she can decide how she faces it, with courage and determination. Cushman successfully blends historical facts with entertaining characters and a realistic story.
This is a fun and funny book that takes a teen's view in the middle ages. Though many teens were married off into arranged marriages, and life perhaps so merry, they were still teens, and it's great to see lively Catherine outwit the system.
Catherine feels trapped and doesn't want to be married off to a rich man as her father intends. This book is great for jr high to high school kids, girls especially. It's also on the accelerated reading list.
Terri F. (Lulu68) - reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy (Newbery Honor Book) on
A Newbury Honor Book.
Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to rich man- any rich man, no matter how awful.
But, by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would be husbands packing.
Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man--any rich man, no matter how awful.
But by will, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call--by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all.
Unfortunately, he is also the richest.
Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father?
Deus! Not if Catherine has anythign to say about it!