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Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village
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Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  5,038 ratings  ·  730 reviews
Step back to an English village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating twenty-two unforgettable characters.
Maidens, monks, and millers' sons -- in these pages, readers will meet them all. There's Hugo, the lord's nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the
Hardcover, 95 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Turtleback Books (first published July 24th 2007)
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this was a lot more fun that i thought it would be. its written to be performed by children, as a series of monologues, mostly, so everyone gets a nice part and no one has to be the tree or the rock or anything. so if you have 17 or so kids (jen, im looking at you), you can perform this in the privacy of your own home or take to the streets and entertain the whole neighborhood. i actually learned a few things about daily life in medieval times, and selected a part for myself (barbary, the mud sl ...more
I'll probably get comments from strangers on this, demanding I explain myself.

I don't think this should have gotten the Newbery medal.
I know I've ranted about the Newbery committee in the past, how they pick feel-good books with more emotional growth than plot development. And I know that the Newbery medal is for excellence in writing in children's books, not for engrossing material that kids will eat up with spoons. But they consistently choose books with more adult appeal than kid-appeal, boo
Jason Koivu
Good lord! Sweet jesus!

The seventeen short skits of varying quality herein were created for school children...well specifically for one of those private schools with "The" before its name. You know, the ritzy titzy kind were it's a-okay if little Johnny skips his other classes for the rest of the day because he refuses to leave off the catapult-esque contraption he's working on for Ms. Schlitz's project on the Middle Ages. And when he fires rocks at the girls and breaks a window he is not suspen
Sep 15, 2008 Joe rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renaissance Faire enthusiasts
It is not often that I find myself truly torn about a book's accolades. I find, however, that this is is true with Schlitz's 2008 Newbery winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

The book has numerous strengths. The art is reminiscent of medieval woodcuttings, and it is their simplicity that gives the collection of soliloquies a folksy, charming touch. It is not just the drawings that give the book its power. Schlitz has a wonderful sense of humor, as evidenced by the particularly amusing soliloquies
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Well this certainly deserved the Newbery Medal! Schlitz did a beautiful job of making the individual voices in the monologues and two dialogues sound true. Reading them all gives you a picture of what life was like for various classes of people in medieval times. The dialogues reminded me of Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise, where sometimes the 2 people spoke together and sometimes they spoke alone. I like the concept of the book (monologues where every actor gets to be the star) and hope she writ ...more
The Library Lady
Here's the Newbery winner. It's a 4 star book. But what kid is going to WANT to read it?
Don't get me wrong. I'd have read it. But I was heavily into Eleanor of Aquitaine, Robin Hood and medieval history (still am) and lapped up anything I could get on the subject.
Most kids weren't and aren't on my wavelength.

It's a beautifully designed book. It's well researched--her period details are spot on. But I'm not sure about the language--I don't think there are clear differences between the vocabulary
Marika Gillis
The author of this delightful children's book, Laura Amy Schlitz, is a school librarian. She wrote this 2008 Newbery Award winner for a group of her students who were studying the Middle Ages. Her desire was to provide enough short plays so that each of the 17 children in each class could share equally in the performance and demonstration of this period of history.

And, boy, do the Middle Ages come alive in these plays!

Set in a medieval manor in England in 1255, these unforgettable and interconne
Nov 11, 2008 Jess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History teachers from K-12 to undergrad, older kids interested in history
As a medieval historian and a mother, I'm constantly searching for books that talk about the middle ages in an accessible yet accurate way. Sure, there are lots of cute books out there about knights, and even some really good non-fiction for older kids (Usborne does it best). But this book completely deserves the Newberry Medal it got. The poetry is beautiful, the stories she tells for each character in the manor whom she profiles is moving, and the details are meticulously correct and add a lev ...more
There isn't much of a story here, and I wish it was longer. But Shlitz's craft is impeccable: she switches between forms of poetry and prose, and it's an amazingly effective way to create different voices.

This isn't much more than a ten-minute read, but it's a good one.
Is the subject interesting? Yes, to me, anyway.
Are the monologues/dialogues well-written? Yes.
Is it historically accurate? Probably, though I'm no expert in medieval history.
Would I have picked this up and read it on my own in the fifth grade? I doubt it.
The explanatory notes are helpful, but I really cannot see a preteen student enjoying this book if they aren't already interested in medieval times. I also can't imagine my own very ordinary public elementary or middle schools ever getting that
My favorite children's book of the year (so far).
Seventeen monologues from young people in an English village about 1255. This is about as perfect a volume as could be. It's lovely, it's research is solid, Laura Amy Schlitz writes like an angel, teachers all over the country will be weeping with joy and relief, and librarians will love it. Not only that, I think the kids will, too. Fabulous.
A beautiful and well written book that most children would probably not stick with or much appreciate on their own. It begs to be done on the stage.

It was fairly riveting to a van full of children, ages 9 - 14, as we listened on a long road trip cross country. The competition was DVD movies, Game Boy and IPod. That says something.

My favorite piece was Jacob Ben Salomon - The Moneylender's Son and Petronella - The Merchant's Daughter. It portrayed two children, a Jew and a Christian, who go to t
Nov 25, 2008 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Natalie by: Newberry Award list
Reading this engaging little book in November, I was impressed, once again, with the ease of my life and the multitude of my blessings, for which I am ever more thankful.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is a collection of short poems and prose giving voice to 23 young people tied to a medieval manor. Each is a soliloquy, originally intended to be recited as a class presentation about the Middle Ages. From the adventures of Hugo, the lord’s nephew, to the conniving of Giles, the beggar, we get a glimp
Heads up to all of you who love Medieval Times. This book won the Newbery Award for 2007 and I think like many others, I was slow to read it because it didn’t “look like” a Newbery Award winner.
What a mistake. This book is so good! And it only takes about an hour to read! It was developed by a librarian for students studying the middle ages. It is a series of monologues about kids living at that time. The sidebars and inserted pages give historical details about what the children are talking ab
Melody Savage
This book would be an excellent book to use in a history or social studies class, as well as a theater or English class. The author recommends how this book could supplement a study of medieval times:
"I wrote these plays for a group of students at the Park school where I work as a librarian. They were studying the Middle Ages, and they were going at it hammer and tongs. They were experimenting with catapults and building miniature castles, baking bread and tending herbs, composing music and ill
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village/ Laura Amy Schlitz/ 2011

Genre: Non Fiction

Format: Book

Summary: Maidens, monks, and millers’ sons — in these pages, readers will meet them all. There’s Hugo, the lord’s nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant’s daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There’s also mud-slinging Barbary (and h
First things first -- I listened to Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! as an audiobook. I'm trying to give audiobooks more of a try, and this one seemed like a good candidate, given that it's a set of dramatic monologues (and two dialogues), written specifically for performance. This proved to be a good choice. The cast (Christina Moore and several others) is excellent, and the production and incidental music is tasteful and professional. If you have the opportunity, I'd highly recommend giving it a li ...more
The context in which this book was written is charming enough: a school librarian wrote a series of monologues and dialogues for fifth graders to perform as a play, so that they could all be the stars. In practice, I found it pretty painful to read. It took me several tries, but I finally got through it. Some reviews claim that it is better listened to, or seen as a play, but performances I found on YouTube didn't add to my enjoyment.

It may be that I don't have much of a taste for stories writte
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Laura Amy Schlitz wrote these short one-person plays for 7th graders at her private Baltimore middle school. The book begins with a short introduction and a map of the medieval village that includes each character.

I liked the feel of each play -- there's a subtle rhythm and some rhyming to many of the plays but they read more like dialog. The plays also overlap just enough to give insight to other characters. Schlitz also includes a few factual s
A collection of twenty-two plays depicting what life during the Medieval times might have been like.

I was very excited to read the 2008 Newbery Award winner and while this book did entertain me, I was disappointed with the content and didn't think that it deserved the medal. I liked the poems that you could perform as skits, they were amusing and did a fair job of describing Medieval life. I thought this was a good book, and that is its problem. It is only "good" not "outstanding" or "absolutely
This is a really cool book, written by a librarian who wanted to give her students a chance to each act out the part of a typical denizen of a good-sized medieval village in the year 1255. It consists of 22 monologues, each from the point of view of one member of the town, which serves to both give the reader an emotional sense of what it may have been like to live at the time, and also imparts a lot of factual information. Footnotes and sections titled "A Little Background" offer more in-depth ...more
Lars Guthrie
This is one of the four recent Newbery winners which Anita Silvey cited as evidence that the literary prize judges have possibly lost their way (see my Lar's Library piece on Neil Gaiman below), and it's the second of them I have read. While I don't agree that 'The Higher Power of Lucky' should not have taken the award, I do think this one is questionable. It's a pleasant enough book that Schlitz put together for a class presentation, but so much else came out in 2007 ('Elijah of Buxton,' one of ...more
I love that this collection of monologues (and a couple of dialogues!) was written by a librarian for a group of students studying the Middle Ages. I love the heart and dedication that went into creating this book. It is fun, it is humorous, it is informative, and it tells a rich story from a time that few of us are aware of. The poetry, the random facts, and the history all come together to create something that makes the Middle Ages seem more close to reality.

This would be such a fun play to
Loved it! At first, you wonder why it won the Newbery, considering it's not a story and a it's a series of monologues and two dialogues. But the monologues differ immensely from each other and are just plain imaginative and very, very accurate of the time. Some are witty, some are sad, some are poignant, it's just a pleasure to read them. And the two dialogues are even better. I like the historical notes and the footnotes, and I don't like the illustrations, but I guess they really do enhance th ...more
Susie White
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village is a fictional story with fictional characters, and is based on actual roles of people during the Middle Ages with real historical elements. The story is told by 23 characters in 19 monologues and 2 dialogues. The book encompasses medieval life in Europe as it describes all of the gory details of filth, disease, maggots, superiority, poverty, and more. The setting and theme of unfairness among the characters seem to correlate and provide ...more
Tina Andrade
Schlitz, L.A. (2007). Good masters! Sweet ladies! Voices from a medieval village. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press.

2008 Newbery Medal Winner.


I had very difficult time establishing the category of this book. Upon first glance, it undoubtedly looks like a fiction book; however, it was in the nonfiction section of the library, the description on the inside jacket says that "the collective voices tell an unforgettable human story about what it took to survive in the Middle Ages", and
Sarah Wilbern
Schlitz, L. (2007). Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From A Medieval Village. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press.

Newberry Medal


This book is a good book for younger children to learn about how people lived in the medieval times. The book is set up into different characters. The characters are different genders and are from different social standings. Each talk about what happens in their daily life, what they have to do, how people treat them and what other people think of them. The
Rebecca Fjelland Davis
On my Newbery Medal blitz during sabbatical (reading as many of them as I can that I haven't already read), I find myself slightly disappointed with some of the books deemed "the best of the best" in Children's Literature for the year. This book, short, and not a novel, lived up to every expectation, however.

In fact, I listened to it in audio form. I would recommend that format to EVERYONE if you're the least interested in the Middle Ages, or if you teach that period to any age student.

I only
I am not sure I would have voted for this extremely clever book to win a Newbery, but I certainly do laud the illustrious Baltimore librarian who penned it! See? Even though I read this group of poems about the Middle Ages in one evening about a month ago, just harkening back to it in my mind already has me trilling a few typically Medieval terms….

I will drop that vocabulary, however, to tell how much I would have LOVED to have had this book available in the 90’s when “The Middle Ages” was requi
Adam Donald
Good masters! Sweet ladies! Voices from a medieval village, takes a very interesting take on writing this historical book. Each page follows a different character and their adventures or struggles in day to day life. All characters are accurate of people you would expect to find in 1255 England. A variety of people are depicted in this book, from a lord nephew, to a black smith’s apprentice, to a doctor’s son. This book presents a lot of information, however not like a text book would present it ...more
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Laura Amy Schlitz has spent most of her life as a librarian and professional storyteller. She is currently a librarian at the Park School in Baltimore, where she has worked since 1991. She is a winner of the 2008 John Newbery award for her book Good Masters, Sweet Ladies!

Ms. Schlitz lives in the Loch Hill section of Baltimore County. She is single with no children.

She has also been a playwright,
More about Laura Amy Schlitz...
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