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The Good Master (Kate and Jancsi #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  3,203 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
Jancsi is overjoyed to hear that his cousin from Budapest is coming to spend the summer on his father's ranch on the Hungarian plains. But their summer proves more adventurous than he had hoped when headstrong Kate arrives, as together they share horseback races across the plains, country fairs and festivals, and a dangerous run-in with the gypsies.

In vividly detailed scen
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published 1973 by Chambers Harrap Publishers (first published 1935)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
The Good Master, a Newbury Honor book written in 1935, is set in the Hungarian countryside in the early 1930s. If you like nostalgic, heartwarming children's fiction or want ideas for Christmas presents (the story ends with a Christmas scene), this book is so good. I recently recommended this book to a GR friend for her young granddaughter, and started reminiscing about how very, very much I loved this book when I was a young teen. I read it so many times when I was a 10-15 year old bookworm tha ...more
Judy
Mar 05, 2017 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
Exuberant. Wholesome. Informative.

Ten-year-old Jancsi, an only child, is the first person we meet. On page 2 of the text, we learn that ...
It got so lonesome for poor Jancsi, he would have given ten horses for a brother. He had it all figured out -- he would give a donkey for even a sister. Not horses, just a donkey.

On page 76, a shepherd explains why he doesn't need money ...
"What would a shepherd be doing with money, Mister Nagy? I have everything here. I am happy. ... The sky gives me sunshin
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Dianna
Dec 06, 2015 Dianna rated it it was amazing
1936 Newbery Honor book. This is like the Little House books, except set in Hungary. I loved everything: the folk tales, Kate's antics, the details of everyday living. Why is this book not better known today? It deserves to be read.
Starry
Apr 27, 2011 Starry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, fiction
The story tells of a young boy growing up on a large ranch in pre-WWI Hungary. His cousin Kate from Budapest comes to stay with the family -- allegedly to recover strength after the measles but, in truth, because she is spoiled and naughty and her widower father cannot control her. (Yes, think Kate from Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, though I have no idea if the author intended the connection.) Over the course of a year and many exciting adventures (saved from drowning! kidnapped by gypsies! ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Jan 05, 2017 Cynthia Egbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love these stories that bring on nostalgia and make me ponder whether or not I could have lived and thrived back in the day. I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have been able to, I am grateful for being here when and where I am. I had a fun moment when I turned a page and recognized an illustration from my childhood and realized that a story I loved as a child in the Collier's Junior Classics is a chapter in this book. That was fun. The other thing I loved in this book were the stories and/or ...more
JD Sutter
Jun 27, 2017 JD Sutter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a delightful, heartwarming story that is aimed at the 8-12 age demographic, but even teenagers and adults can enjoy the great storytelling. The characters are vivid and lifelike; Jancsi, Kate and Márton in particular I found to be very relatable. Coming at this book from an adult's point of view, I found that the characters have layers to them that are more than meets the eye. But Seredy keeps the complexity of the personalities as a sort of undercurrent to the story so that while young ...more
Heather
"Little House" in Hungary. Wonderful, warm, inviting, and informative historical fiction. Perfect for children and adults of all ages.
ladydusk
Aug 31, 2016 ladydusk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Own.

We read this book as our "Fun Novel" at the end of Whatchamacallit (Circle Time, Morning Time, Morning Basket, Symposium, Whatchamacallit). I loved the beautiful writing, thoughtful story, and many of the ideas presented.

I was disappointed by how Romani were portrayed in the story.

Kate, a wild, spoiled imp of a city-girl, is sent to live with her uncle and his family after an illness and the death of her mother. She is completely out of control and her father doesn't know what to do with her
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Penelope Dreadfulle
I received this book from my father for my tenth birthday...one of three books (the other two being The Singing Tree by the same author, and The Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton). This one I finished by sundown. All three had a profound effect on my world view that has continued on into adulthood. For a kid who grew up in the middle of the Pacific ocean, these three books opened my eyes to the rest of the world in a way that hadn't happened before.

The story takes place in the early 1900s a
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BookSweetie
The author-illustrator Kate Seredy was born in 1899 in Hungary where she spent some youthful summers on the plains of Hungary that inspired her work of juvenile fiction THE GOOD MASTER, a Newbery Honor Book for 1935. (It was a runner-up to that year's winner CADDIE WOODLAWN, which Kate Seredy had illustrated!) NOTE: There is a follow-up to The Good Master called THE SINGING TREE, published in 1939, and that book also received a Newbery Honor Book award.

Kate Seredy, apparently, considered herse
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Emese
Feb 20, 2008 Emese rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k-12-books
Picking nits.

A Newberry Honor Book with lots of small, but annoying inaccuracies about Hungarian culture, myths and folklore.

Kate Seredy uses Hungarian names of everything like coat=suba, prairie=puszta, and names like Jancsi and Árpád without giving notes on pronounciation or origins. I would think this confuses the young reader.

The only character with a name with an Americanized spelling, "Kati" is actually "Kate", a name that could never be a Hungarian name, not even in the capital city. Wh
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Marianne
Aug 30, 2009 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A frail city girl who needs fresh country air is being sent to the Jansi's house. The "frail city girl's" name is Kate. Jansi and Kate are cousins..... and there around the same age! But Kate is not at all what uncle Sandor his name is said she was like. Truth is Kate is really a Snobby, yelling brat who sometimes looks like an angel but is just getting into more and more trouble. Fredrick, his mother, and father soon find that out! But as time goes on Kate changes. It takes a lot of time for he ...more
Phoebe
Nov 12, 2010 Phoebe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jancsi lives happily with his parents in preWorld War 2 Hungary, on a prosperous ranch where life is busy but satisfying. When his city cousin Kate comes to recuperate after illness he is at first excited but then astounded at her headstrong, sometimes thoughtless behavior. The two children have a variety of adventures and become fast friends, under the paternal tutelage of Jancsi's father, the Good Master of the title. Except for the usual comments about girls' inferiority to boys, and the deme ...more
Ashley Perham
Mar 10, 2015 Ashley Perham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in seventh grade and loved it. I love books that have stories within stories, like this one. And I love books that aren't really about anything, but just mosey along!

Kate is a problem child, but I like how The Good Master parented her and for pete's sake can I throw this book at some parents I know?!

My favorite story was the rooster one. I used to tell that to all the little kids I knew, and then I completely forgot it! But now I know it, so I'll tell it again :D

I loved this boo
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Megan Lengel
Jancsi and his father, Marton, don't know wha they're getting into when they pick up Kate, Jancsi's cousin from the city, at the train station. Her father had written that she was "delicate" and had "had the measles" recently. They expect a shy little girl. They don't know that Kate's father had LIED about her!
Karyn
Aug 26, 2012 Karyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, children-s
This is a beautiful story! I love the message of hard work and good character that comes from it. We read this in our homeschool and I am so glad. My kids adored it, too! There are so many funny parts that kept them laughing.
Rebecca
Apr 21, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story for kids! Not a great literary work but very effectively eaches a lot about the rural lifestyle, culture and history of Hungary through the medium of engaging stories about the adventures of two cousins. Reinforces good values.
Wendy
Feb 12, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book for the whole family.
QNPoohBear
Dec 13, 2016 QNPoohBear rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to QNPoohBear by: Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Jonsi, a boy from the Hungarian Plains, is unimpressed when his cousin Kate comes to stay from the city. She's pale and skinny and insults his clothing! Kate's father says she has come to recover from the measles, but the truth is, Kate is dreadfully spoiled and headstrong. Her father can not control her and is hoping is brother will be able to guide Kate with a firm, but loving hand. As weeks turn into months, the cousins have many adventures together and Jonsi may decide that having a girl for ...more
Sonya
Jun 11, 2017 Sonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in simple, old-fashioned style, this inspiring, encouraging book walks you through the life of a spoil cousin who must come to live with her uncle's family on a ranch. She finds there is reward for work, payment for foolishness, and adventure for the brave. She learns from the struggles of watering her own garden during a drought, to sharing with other's out of her excess. An old plot with a lively setting that kept my son laughing through her antics and anticipating consequences for foo ...more
Leeann
May 23, 2017 Leeann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful and timeless!
Michele
May 17, 2017 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction, childrens
This was a fun story set in Hungary. A good story to give kids a taste of another culture before our modern conveniences or just to read a fun story.
Kristy
Mar 19, 2017 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I read this book but I enjoyed the portrayal of Hungarian country life and the change in Kate. I didn't know before now that the author is also the illustrator and I love her drawings - I just wish they were in color!
Melanie
Mar 19, 2017 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light, fun story. I'll have to read more Seredy.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Back in elementary school, an edited version of parts of chapters 1 and 2 of this book was in my guided reading book. For some reason our teacher didn't use it in class, but I remember reading and enjoying the story of wild Kate who climbed up in the rafters and stole the sausages. I had never heard of Hungary, or Budapest, but it sounded interesting.

Fast forward 45 years and I came across a copy of the book the story was taken from. Unfortunately the beautifully-drawn illustrations are in blac
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Wisdom Zelda
Oct 25, 2016 Wisdom Zelda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful Simplicity

When I visited Budapest last year, we took a ferryboat to see the Danube River. I loved looking down at the Danube from the boat. Its waters were fresh, dark and magical. When I looked up from the river, I saw Budapest’s Statue of Liberty on a hill: a young girl standing against the wind, with a large feather held over her head. I was stricken with the simple beauty of the statue, just like I was stricken with the simple beauty of this book.

The Good Master, by Kate Seredy, te
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Erin Pierce
Dec 31, 2016 Erin Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started out not liking this book since the protagonist, Kate was SUCH a brat! But, as I continued to read, I began to enjoy the story more and more, and by the end I really loved it.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Jancsi, who lives on a ranch in Hungary in the years prior to World War I, is thrilled to learn that his "delicate" cousin Kate will be coming from Budapest to stay with his family for the summer. When Kate arrives, however, she is not quite what Jancsi expected. Instead of being frail and sickly, Kate is wild and strong-willed! As Kate's uncle - the "good master" named in the title - does his best to teach Kate the proper way to behave, Kate
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Stephanie
Mar 25, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia
Jun 29, 2008 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alicia by: Newbery
This sweet 1935 Newbery Honor book is about a boy and girl (around age 10) and their adventures on the Hungarian plains. I read this to my children years ago and remember loving it, so I just reread it to 11 year old Josh. I wanted to reread it because it's full of Hungarian folklore and traditions, and Hungary borders Ukraine (where my missionary son is serving). Josh loved the adventures: hiding in the rafters and eating the winter sausages stored there, racing on horses, nearly drowning, etc. ...more
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Seredy (Serédy Kató) was a gifted writer and illustrator, born in Hungary, who moved to the United States in 1922.
Seredy received a diploma to teach art from the Academy of Arts in Budapest. During World War I Seredy travelled to Paris and worked as a combat nurse. After the war she illustrated several books in Hungary.
She is best known for The Good Master, written in 1935, and for the Newbery Aw
...more
More about Kate Seredy...

Other Books in the Series

Kate and Jancsi (2 books)
  • The Singing Tree

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