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Adam of the Road

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  6,718 Ratings  ·  277 Reviews
John Newbery Medal Winner

"I want to go with you," Adam tells his father. But the roads of early England were home to bands of thieves and robber knights - not just to minstrels like Adam and his father.
Before their journey has hardly begun, Adam's beloved dog, Nick, is stolen and his father disappears. Adam is eleven years old, but he travels the road alone, searching the
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1970 by Scholastic Book Services (first published 1942)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I picked up Adam of the Road at a library sale several months ago for a dollar. As a Newbery Award winner in 1943, it was one of those books that I remember seeing frequently during my childhood but had never read. And it fits into one of the squares in my 2016 Classics Bingo card, so here we are!


Adam of the Road is the story of a couple of years in the life of a young boy who is a minstrel in training in England in the late 1200s. Adam’s father Roger is a quite successful minstrel who has left
Melissa (ladybug)
I loved this book. Yes, it started out slow and I didn't understand why Adam called his father Roger; but otherwise a very nice book. Adam does some growing up and learns about the world. The author really did her research on the details. I feel that I have really learned somethings about England in the 1200s - 1300s and I wasn't even trying.
Evan Hays
Sep 27, 2011 Evan Hays rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic that I also read back in 3rd grade. All I really remembered was the excellent feel of the book, which makes sense now because that is the main takeaway. The plot is take it or leave it, and there are several characters who you would have liked the author to develop more, thus why it gets 4 stars. But for its portrayal of Medieval England it gets a high rank. For example, she works in details such as there was only one coin minted in England at the time, how it was fashionable to swear ...more
I read this because Katie's on a Newbery kick. Although here it says first published in 1973, it was actually from 1942, and it reads as such, but it's a nice little medieval story anyway. I found interesting the way Gray describes friendships between males - for instance, there's an innocence in the way Adam just earnestly loves his friend Perkin, with the two boys always walking arm in arm, sharing beds and doing anything for each other, that wouldn't as likely be written in that way in the cu ...more
The story of a dog and his boy...set in medieval England. This is a charming little book, if slow moving. Adam is the son of Roger the Minstrel. While accompanying his father around England, his dog Nick is stolen. He sets off in search of his dog, is separated from his father, and has an episodic series of adventures.

In the Newbery Project, there have been some really horrible books recently (I'm looking at you Daniel Boone and The Matchlock Gun). It's the second Newbery book that I've read so
Steve Shilstone
This pleasant, easygoing tale set in late 13th century England describes the medieval life and times of a young minstrel looking to reunite with his dog and his dad.
Justine Carbo
Apr 07, 2011 Justine Carbo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i thought this book was horrible. i wouldn't reccommend it .
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Teresa Garrett
I try to read an older Newbery winner from time to time to see if they still have appeal to current students. I am excited to say Adam of the Road did not disappoint. Adam is a 12 year old minstrel who is traveling with his father around 13th century England. His father has recently joined a family as their private minstrel and life is looking up for both Roger, the dad, and Adam his son who is training to become a minstrel in his own right. They have a fine war horse: Bayard and a beautiful red ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Debnance rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-books
“A road’s a kind of holy thing,” said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. “That’s why it’s a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It’s open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it’s home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle.”

Adam is a young boy of eleven, spending his time in school while awaiting the return of his father, a minstrel of some repute, and t
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
"A road's a kind of holy thing," said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. "That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle."

Adam is a young boy of eleven, spending his time in school while awaiting the return of his father, a minstrel of some repute, and t
Buddy read with Cary but I've sprinted ahead of her. Sorry!!

It's slways a nice break to read a Newbery book. Though I personally would not have read this had it not had the seal, I realized and was able to appreciate the fact that there really are all sorts of writing styles and at the end of the day it boils down to telling a good story and getting your message across. This was such a book. A simple story about a young lad's journey to finding himself and of making his own mark. It is also abo
Newbery Medal Winner--1943

This was a fun little tale of an aspiring minstrel and the adventures he has while on the road. He encounters many people along his journey, including knights, robbers, and scholars. He spend much of the time searching for his father and his dog, and finds himself in all kinds of trouble. A good adventure tale set in Medieval Europe, but too much description and not enough dialogue for me to really love it.
Dec 26, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adam is the son of Roger, a minstrel. Roger and Adam head on the road to find places to sing and tell their tales. Through a series of events, Roger gets separated from his father and goes in search of his father. I found this a quick, enjoyable read with plenty of adventure as well as a wide assortment of characters.
I found this book so charming, and loved how it was set in England in the 1200's. Listed as a young adult book but I loved it as an adult and felt like I appreciated it even more from my current perspective.
Michael Fitzgerald
There's a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary in this - some of it is explained right there, but much of it is not. A good deal of it can be understood roughly due to the context, but I think a glossary would have been a very useful addition to this book.
Apr 25, 2011 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book I read as a youngster that I purchased to share with my kids when they're a little older. But the other day I decided that I didn't want to wait any longer before reading it again myself!
L Frost
Feb 06, 2017 L Frost rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-winners
I'm trying to read all of the Newbery winners so this one from 1942 was a must. It sounded boring and dull at first. The idea of a book set in 1294 in England about a wandering boy wasn't interesting. But I can see why it won. It's a sweet tale of adventure. Unlike much of today's writing, there is no objectionable content. It's historical and introduces the reader to the world and life of that time. Although there is no huge surprise or major elements of suspense, it is well written enough to h ...more
Jan 17, 2017 Olivia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adam of the Road is a book about a young minstrel who is waiting for his father to come and visit even though he has not for a long time. When Adam's father Roger finally came, Adam left with him to go to serve the king for his daughter's wedding. Once the wedding ended, Adam and Roger went back home. They spent a night at an inn, where someone stole Adam's dog. When searching for the dog, Adam and Roger got split up leaving Adam alone. Now he has to search for both Roger and his dog.

This is a g
Dec 31, 2013 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
67 1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Viking)

8/6/10 317 pages - en route to taking mom to Michigan

Adam is the son of a minstrel in the 1200's. The story begins with him waiting at a boarding school for his father to fetch him and his dog Nick. Roger, his father, has been selected as a special minstrel and he takes Adam with him. The dog is stolen and Adam has many adventures when he becomes separated from Roger while looking for the dog.

The story has some vocabulary that is difficu
Stephanie Sheaffer
This is a good addition to a history/lit unit about the Middle Ages. The young minstrel protagonist is interesting and his adventures shine light on the time period.

* Assigned as required reading in my 4th grader's curriculum.
Mar 03, 2017 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was better than I anticipated in the beginning. It has a compelling, fun-filled narrative that is thoroughly enjoyable, and a goodly amount of contextual details to settle you into the medieval scene. The cast of characters are generally enjoyable, and even the villains are softened. Having a rogue robber knight is one of many highlights, and the nature of the narrative being about a boy on the road aids by its very nature in keeping the plot moving at a healthy pace as the boy circle ...more
Mar 20, 2011 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent story. I was pleasantly surprised. It reminds me a little of The Hobbit, maybe because they're both adventure stories. Strange coincidence--I read Sarah, Plain and Tall right after this and they mention the same song!! "Sumer is i-cumen in, 'Loude sing cuckoo"...must be some famous old English madrigal.

"Remember, Adam, a minstrel sings what his listeners want to hear. It's not for him to ease his own sorrows or tell his own joys. He's to find out how his listeners are feeling and say it
Monique Castro
Adam of the Road is about a young boy who dreams of making it out as a minstrel like his father. After his father's return from France, Adam, father, and his dog go on an adventure and meet friends and enemies. When Adam loses his father and dog he goes all over England in search of them. In my opinion it was an alright book, a lot of big words some in a foreign language, but very adventurous.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

In 1294, Adam is the son of a traveling minstrel. He is thrilled when he is able to leave school and begin traveling the road with his father, Roger, and dog, Nick. He loves watching Roger entertain the family for whom he works, and Adam enjoys sharpening his own minstrelsy skills along the way. When an opportunistic rival minstrel steals his dog, though, Adam becomes upset, and in the process of looking for the dog, he loses track of his fat
Feb 02, 2017 Nann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a delight to read Adam's story again. (I first read it circa 1963.)

The setting is England in 1294. Ten-year-old Adam’s is the son of Roger Quartermayne, a minstrel who makes his living singing and playing at noble households in southeast England. Adam is becoming an accomplished harper and has learned many of his father’s songs. The Quartermaynes are on the road, sometimes on horseback but mostly on foot, when an unscrupulous rival minstrel, Jankin, steals Adam’s beloved spaniel Nick. In
Caiden Wallace
While this book was very consistent with Medieval times, it'd go on for long periods of time on things that'd stray from the story. It'd go on for about half a page or more about the smell of the air or the sounds the main character would hear, which would very much stray from the story, becoming virtually completely irrelevant to the plot.

However, it was very historically accurate, but yet, the author created a main character or protagonist that's unlikable at 1st, but, ironically, like the nar
May 07, 2013 Gale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Set during the reign of King Edward "Longshanks" this story describes the life of a minstrel's son. Adam adores his pet spaniel, Nick, and pals around with a boy named Perkin, who is a fellow student at the Abbey School. But the youth yearns for his father's return, so that they may travel the glorious Road together: singing, harping, reciting tales (called Lays), spreading news and performing acrobatics-anything to entertain a crowd and therefore earn food and
Aug 17, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Janet Gray- Adam of the Road (Puffin Books 1988) 3.75 Stars

It is the thirteenth century in England and 11-year-old Adam wants nothing more than to be a minstrel. His father is the personal minstrel of royalty and he is coming to take Adam to learn the tricks of the trade. Adam is taking his red spaniel, Nick, with him and when his dog is stolen he finds himself searching many roads for his beloved pet. Adam now finds himself separated from his father and Nick, and he must rely on his o
Juli Anna
I'm a sucker for children's fiction set in medieval times, so this book was a fun romp for me. That said, it's not an outstanding book as far as the genre goes (the 1950 Newbery, The Door in the Wall, is much better, and that review will not be long in coming). I like the author's choice of minstrelsy for her character's occupation, and the characterizations are in general pretty good. I also appreciated the more realistic depiction of living conditions in medieval England (no dinner, no shoes, ...more
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Elizabeth Gray Vining began her distinguished writing career with children's books because she said "they enjoy their books so much, read and re-read them—which is satisfying to a hard-working author." Later she began to write for adults as well, and they, too, read and re-read her books. among the most popular of these books are Windows for the Crown Prince, The Virginia Exiles, Friend of Life, T ...more
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