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The Trumpeter of Krakow
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The Trumpeter of Krakow

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  4,547 ratings  ·  215 reviews
A dramatic tale of 15th century Poland, it tells the story of a courageous young patriot and a mysterious jewel of great value. The beautifully written book, filled with adventure and excitement, gives young readers a vivid picture of Krakow in the early Renaissance."--The Horn Book. 20 illustrations.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by Aladdin (first published 1928)
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The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
65th out of 106 books — 2,334 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleHoles by Louis SacharNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal Winner Books
80th out of 94 books — 271 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ensiform
The 1929 Newbery winner, this novel is set in Poland, 1461. Joseph Charnetski, a fifteen-year-old, travels with his family to Krakow after their home and fields in the Ukraine were destroyed. The family befriends a wise scholar and goes to live in the house of an alchemist and his daughter. Joseph becomes a watchman in the Church of Our Lady Mary. In the tower there, he plays on the hour the Heynal, a theme that is traditionally broken off in mid-note out of respect for a brave Polish lad who wa ...more
Meagan Castor
Mystery, honor, love, greed, protection, sacrifice and good verses evil are all incites into the heart of The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly. This book takes place around 200 years after the Tartar invasion of Krakow in 1241 and is centered around the honor of one young man who gave his life because of an oath and his love for his country and the church while playing the Heynal amidst the terror of war. Much importance is placed on the fact that the young man died while playing the Heynal ...more
Antof9
This is definitely better than the last few Newbery books (1922-1928), and honestly, I really wanted to like it, given my SIL's birthplace (Poland). But I guess the whole alchemy thing took so much away from the story where I was loving the people and the descriptions and pronouncing "Elzbietka" in my head that it made me not like it much. And of course, again I'm thinking of junior highers reading this and going, "HUH?!"

It's so odd to me that there I was, going along reading a story about a fam
...more
Colby Sharp
I have no idea why I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of 1. I think mostly because I'm giving myself a bonus star because I finished it in one sitting.
Benjamin Thomas
I found it difficult to get into this one despite the medieval historical setting. Perhaps it is the era in which it was written (1920's). That lends a certain style and pace that is a little slower and a tad more "literary". Despite the novel's heritage as an award winner, it would be difficult for me to recommend this to children for fear they would toss it aside declaring it to be too boring. Those of Polish ancestry would likely consider it more of a duty to read and, indeed, quite possibly ...more
Belcantomom


I loved reading about a Krakow that was thriving and a center if education, culture and civilization. My kids were skeptical of this one and the readingg level was too hard for my daughter when we started, but as I decided to read-aloud instead of having her read it alone, several things changed: the language was easily understandable by all of the children, they all became intrigued with the story and even identified things they were familiar with. :-) thanks to JK Rowling, they had a schema f
...more
Kathi
I must admit that I am very proud to be 100% Polish-American, and that my daughters are the same.

That fact, plus the very strong characters, inspiring passages, and its 1929 copyright moved a possible four-star rating to five. This is excellent young-adult historical fiction for any era. An action-packed adventure book based on a true story, "The Trumpeter" inspires today with its examples of courage, wisdom, and fidelity to promises made.

When you read the book, be sure it's the edition that beg
...more
Bethany
Before I was even finished with the first chapter, I was wondering why I have never read this book before! The writing is elegant, the pacing is engaging, and the story captures the spirit of a strong people group. Children's fiction of this kind is hard to find. I am looking forward to sharing this book with my middle school students next year.
Mimi
I knew we had this book around so when one of my dear friends said that it was wonderful, I found our copy and read. I thought I knew the plot, but it turns out that I knew the plot of the prologue.
The book was very different than I expected, but an interesting and enjoyable read. I can see returning to it again.
Linda
This came alive for me because I so recently visited and loved Krakow, and with Poland being my 1/4 ancestral home I can easily feel connected to the history. It's a good children's book, fine story, and bonus points for history and for decrying sexism and banditry and superstition and for suggesting we should be nice to the puppy and other people and so on. Also, have I mentioned that I love Krakow? And music is the hero of the story (in a way)! All in all, good stuff (especially compared to, a ...more
Anne Slater
This is a Newbery Award classic that I never managed to read as a child. I am so glad it came through my hands this summer.

Originally published in 1928, it stands the test of time as long a s the reader is prepared to sit back, as if in a large over-stuffed red leather arm chair, and regress into the 15th century. There are good guys and bad guys, history and the ever-present greed. A loyal family, the treasure they are hiding (this part kind of sinks into the background as the action of the sto
...more
Nann
1461: unrest in Ukraine forces the Charnetski family to flee their estate and find refuge in Krakow. Joseph's father becomes the trumpeter in the church tower, playing the Hejnal every hour. (It's still done; look on YouTube.) There are good guys (scholars and alchemists), iffy guys (necromancers -- a great vocabulary word), bad guys (foreign thugs), and a devastating fire. There's a treasure to guard. It's an exciting tale.

I was glad that the edition of Trumpeter had an introduction (from 1966
...more
Anita
I found the Trumpeter of Krakow an interesting read, and at times fascinating. It won the Newbery Medal in 1929, and so was on my challenge list to read all the Newbery Medal books. Part of my interest is to try to figure out why Newbery winners received the recognition they did. This book is a historical fiction set during Poland's Golden Age in Medieval Europe. (My ignorance of European history and geography is embarrassing. I did not know Poland had a Golden Age! I had to keep looking up actu ...more
Lorry Chwazik
Since I'm visiting Krakow in a few weeks, it was kismet I came across this old gem (the Newbery Award winner of 1929) while weeding the fiction section in the library. Perhaps it is due to some combination of my heritage and impending destination, but unlike some other Newberys that tended to be slogs for me, I really enjoyed this page-turner set in medieval Poland. Fascinating, too, was to later read of author Eric P. Kelly's duplicitous or maybe just mis-informed perpetuation of the legend of ...more
Janis
I'm not sure I could recommend this to any but the most earnest of children but I did enjoy reading this winner of the 1929 Newbery Award. The story takes place in medieval Krakow, and blends history with the fantastical story of a philosopher's stone and the family dedicated to its care. It's told with just the right amount of tension but perhaps too much detail for the modern reader.
Jenevieve
Review first published on My Blog. Check them all out there!

Joseph and his family have fled their home in the Ukraine and headed to Krakow after the Tartars have laid waste to their home. They are being hunted even in Krakow as Joseph's father is hiding the Great Tarnov Crystal, a jewel that is said to possess great powers and one that is worth killing for. Pan Andrew, Joseph's father, has fulfilled his family's ancient oath to protect it for as long as they could but now that the secret is out,
...more
marcus miller
Published in 1928 this book won the Newbery in 1929. I picked it up at the local thrift store after noticing the title. A few years ago I was in Krakow with five high school students and heard the trumpeter play the Heynal. We were told the story about the trumpeter who was shot with an arrow, mid-note by the Mongol invaders. Kelly builds on this story to "explain" the fire of 1462 which nearly destroyed the city. The book brought back good memories of wandering the narrow streets, strolling th ...more
Debnance
Adventure…kings…alchemists…heroes…castles…villains…treasure…What more could a kid want in a story?

The book centers on a family who has come to Krakow having lost everything to marauders seeking an ancient treasure said to be in the family’s possession. A classic story of adventure.

Megan
This one is an older Newbery classic about Polish medieval history. I liked it OK. I didn't find myself really wanting to reach for it, and yet, it was an interesting topic. I learned a few things. Two stars may seem a bit harsh, but this one just didn't grab me.
Richard Ward
Aug 10, 2015 Richard Ward rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs only, young and old.
Historical fiction for older kids, originally published in 1928 but set in the 1400's in Poland. A boy and his dad immigrate to urban Krakow from rural Ukraine, bringing almost nothing with them save a pumpkin. The boy doesn't know it but the pumpkin holds a jewel valuable in terms of money and powerful to alchemists who know how to use it. The family and their new city are in danger by those who will do anything to get control of the jewel. The book is The Trumpeter Of Krakow because that's the ...more
Debbie
Dec 31, 2013 Debbie added it
85 1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Macmillan)

9/20/2013 242 pages

from Wikipedia: The Trumpeter of Krakow, a young adult historical novel by Eric P. Kelly, won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1929. Centered around the historical fire that burned much of Kraków in 1462, The Trumpeter of Krakow tells the fictional story of a family of Joseph Charnetski,[1] a Polish noble family from Kresy (modern day Ukraine), who fled to Kraków, Poland, in 1461
...more
Marsha
Interesting novel so far, but I am noting some pretty giant historical inaccuracies.

Phil Jensen
Just to clear up the genre question: This is tightly researched historical fiction. Although one of the characters is an alchemist, there are no fantasy elements. There were actual "alchemists" in medieval Europe, trying the types of experiments described in the book.

As far as the book itself- it's pretty good. The characters and plotting are ahead of their time (1928), but the pacing is still choppier than most post-1960 children's books. Kelly gets something going for a few chapters, then lets
...more
Jim
A beautifully written book, it has an amazing setting-15th Century Krakow-which is brought vividly to life by this author. Published in 1928, it's classified as a Young Adult book, but, as with any good YA books, adults can enjoy it.
The story is about a family-the Charnetskis-driven out of Ukraine to Krakow, at the time the capital of Poland. In their possession is a great and valuable gem which a Tartar bandit chief is looking for.. in Krakow, the family gets involved with alchemists at a time
...more
Nick
I came across this book a little while ago, and remember that I tried reading it as a kid and failed. That makes sense to me know; it's a hard book to read, and so it's in a strange place, between children and adult audiences. That said, I did enjoy it, and could probably see it being read aloud to one's children, with plenty of commentary interspersed throughout. It is a good story, and might help give young readers a sense of the majesty of the kingdom of Poland prior to its devastation in the ...more
Cheryl
This book was not as boring as I thought it would be. The descriptions of the different scenes in 15th century Poland were verbose, and I don't think that most of today's children would enjoy reading this book. The cover is tan with black ink drawings and looks quite dull by today's standards. This book has sat on the shelf in one of my libraries for 15 years without being checked out. The plot was interesting with several twists and a bit of action. Recommended for people who like historical fi ...more
Bhg
Nov 22, 2012 Bhg rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any Polish person you particularly dislike.

Louise Seaman Bechtel introduction begins with condescension and ignorance in her introduction but it suits what follows. If the words Ugly American mean anything to you, let's skip what she actually wrote and describe it thusly.

Kellly claims to love the Poles but if so why mislead Americans about the country's history? The University of Krakow was the first to have a chair in Astronomy - in 1400! See Grazyna Rosinska's article in http://scribd.com/doc/38101197/Universities-Science-in-the-Early

...more
Cheryl Gatling
When this book was published in 1928, children loved it so much that library copy after copy was worn to shreds. So says the foreward to this edition. Today's children may have a harder time getting into it, as the language is sometimes dense to the point of being archaic. (The Tartar invaders as described in the first chapter: "Brave they were as lions, courageous they were as great dogs, but they had hearts of stone and knew not mercy, nor pity, nor tenderness, nor God.") But this is an advent ...more
Aimee
Oh, I liked this book, too. It had a young hero I could follow, the plot was just complicated enough, good guys, bad guys, a beautiful girl (who was just a wee bit of a feminist) and a satisfactory ending. Something to get lost in.

It’s a work of fiction leading up to an actual fire that destroyed much of Krakow in 1462. The trumpeters of Krakow, from the title, trumpet the hour with a traditional piece of music, from the spire of a church every hour, on the hour. The melody is unfinished at the
...more
Indiana
This book received the Newberry Award for best children's book in 1928. I received this book as a gift in 1978. I had no interest in it at the time. It was about a boy...ick! But I had a feeling I'd want to read it someday so I've kept it all these years. And finally with a trip to Krakow on the horizon, I felt it was finally time to read it. I'm kind of glad I waited because I really enjoyed it now but would have probably hated it when I was a young girl. Because boys....icky! LOL! Anyway this ...more
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Children's Books: Winner & Honors from 1929 8 68 Dec 08, 2013 02:30PM  
Professional Review 1 2 Dec 07, 2013 10:35PM  
Newbery Books: July/August 2013 Read - The Trumpeter of Krakow 3 17 Sep 26, 2013 02:37PM  
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Eric P. Kelly, a student of Slavic culture for most of his life, wrote The Trumpeter of Krakow while teaching and studying at the University of Krakow. During five years spent in Poland he traveled with an American relief unit among the Poles who were driven out of the Ukraine in 1920, directed a supply train at the time of the war with the Soviets, and studied and visited many places in the count ...more
More about Eric P. Kelly...
The Christmas Nightingale: Christmas Stories of Poland The Golden Star of Halich: A Tale of the Red Land in 1362 The Land and People of Poland (Portraits of the Nations Series) At the Sign of the Golden Compass - A Tale of the Printing House of Christopher Plantin in Antwerp, 1576 A Girl Who Would Be Queen: The Story and the Diary of the Young Countess Krasinska

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