Book Reviews of Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine, Called Birdy
Catherine Called Birdy
Author: Karen Cushman
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ISBN-13: 9780788706875
ISBN-10: 078870687X
Publication Date: 12/1997
Edition: Unabridged
Rating:
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Publisher: Recorded Books
Book Type: Audio Cassette
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32 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 250 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 94 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
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.
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Helpful Score: 5
A well-written historical fiction story for preteen readers. Birdy is a likable main character with wit and guts that will appeal to modern readers. The ending even brought tears of pride to my eyes!
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Helpful Score: 4
Delightful story of a 14-year-old daughter of a knight's exploits in avoiding marriage. True to the period and hilarious.
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Helpful Score: 3
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.
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Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 153 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I absolutely loved this book when I was a teenager. I must have read it 20 times.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 216 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
We used this in our medieval unit study. Very good book!
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought this book was pretty funny. I like when she's trying to come up with her own curse words.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 2 more book reviews
This book is so, SO funny! I don't know that it's hyper-historically correct, but it's a wonderful read. It's very upbeat, and you cheer for Catherine. She fights back!
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Plot Summary

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

Critical Analysis

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.
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What a lovely little story that captures a period of time forgotten to us now. Highly recommend, esp for teenage girls.
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This book is a classic Newberry Award winngin book and was required reading for 6th graders in our local school system.
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A modern classic & a Newberry Honor Book, this is a great book for kids to learn about life in the middle ages.
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Diary of a medieval young girl as her father attempts to marry her off. Catherine is irreverent but fun!
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A great book of life in the Middle Ages for a young girl. For ages 12 and up.
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for young adult readers-award winning novel-young and independent when maidens weren't supposed to be that way (the middle ages), Catherine tries to avoid an arranged marriage
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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.
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An exciting account for your history student. I read this aloud to my children. They thought it was very interesting.
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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.
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A great young adult novel, read well. I recommend it.
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Very entertaining story told in personal journal format. Interesting view of life in the late 1200s. Appeals to both kids & adults.
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My 14 year old daughter enjoyed this book by Karen Cushman. She likes her writing style and humor. I would recommend this book if your studying the medieval time period.
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ex library hardcover
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This book is used in Sonlight 6
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A Newbery Honor Book
A 1995 Notable Children's Book
A 1995 Best Book for Young Adults
Quick Picks for Young Adults 1995
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy 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.
reviewed Catherine, Called Birdy on + 479 more book reviews
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!