The Midwife's Apprentice Author:Karen Cushman "I am Alyce. Not Brat or Dung Beetle or Beetle. Alyce." — One frosty evening, a girl who knows no home, no parents, and no name but Brat finds shelter and warmth in a farmer's dung heap. There Jane the village midwife finds her. So it is that Brat--now called Beetle by her new mistress--begins her career as a midwife's apprentic... more »e.
It's not a soft life. Jane is a hard woman with a sharp glance and a sharper temper. Still, Beetle makes a place for herself, adopting a cat and befriending one of the village boys. By secretly watching Jane work, she learns some of the skills the midwife greedily tries to hide. Beetle even gives herself a real name at last: Alyce.
Then one day she fails at an important assignment. Alyce runs away, believing she is too stupid to be of use to anyone. Is she truly Brat, a know-nothing who belongs nowhere? Or is she Alyce, the midwife's apprentice, a person with a name and a place in the world?
Winner, 1996 Newbery Medal; New York Public Library 1995 List of Recommended Books; Booklist for Youth Editor’s Choice 1995; School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, 1995; An American Bookseller Association Pick of the Lists, 1995; A 1996 Notable Children’s Book (ALA); A 1996 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)« less
This is a charming story about a girl who learns how to choose her own path in life. Beetle, who has no family and cannot remember her name, realizes that she can be Alyce, a confident woman and sensitive person.
This is dealing with a MIDWIFE'S apprentice, so there were just a couple descriptions that I would not have been ready for my 8 year old to read, even though we were studying medieval history in our homeschool. I'm very thankful I read it first. I might recommend this to an older, more mature child but not a little kid. Seems like you sometimes can't trust the Newbery Award to be without questionable materials so I've learned to use discretion and read the books first. We're much more sensitive in our home about sexuality in books, movies, and TV than maybe most people are, I guess. It was still well written and I enjoyed the setting of the middle ages.