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The Singing Tree (Kate and Jancsi #2)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,553 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Life on the Hungarian plains us changing quickly for Jancsi and his cousin Kate. Father has given Jansci permission to be in charge of his own herd and Katehas begun to think of going to dnces. Then, when Hungary must send troops to fight in the great war and Jancsi's father is called to battle, the two cousins must grow up all the sooner.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Turtleback Books (first published 1939)
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Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
Sequel to The Good Master, a childhood fave. Kate's and Jansci's fathers go off to war, and the younger generation (who are now teenagers) takes care of the family farm in the Hungarian steppes, as well as their grandparents, some neighbors who need a place to stay, six Russian POWs, and six German children who are refugees.

My reaction to this book as a teenager was "meh;" I didn't care for the more serious tone of this book, set during WWI. I decided I needed to read it again to give it a more
Sep 26, 2015 Sally906 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sequel to The Good Master this book takes Hungary into the First World War and we see how this effects our two intrepid main characters. No longer children Kate and Jancsi spend their middle teen years learning to be adults. Family goes to war, and the family take in Russian prisoners of war and German war orphans. I am saddened this is the last time I will spend with this farming family living on the Hungarian plains.
Oct 18, 2009 CLM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to CLM by: SLM
I read this until our copy fell apart.
Aug 16, 2007 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A personal tale (the author is retelling her childhood) of the shift from the farms of rural Hungary to the effects of WWI. The Jewish storekeeper having faith that this war will help keep his people safe for good, the Russian prisoners of war working in the farm and being grateful to be there, safe from the battlefield, the soldiers coming home changed and shell shocked, the solidity of community and family...
Jan 21, 2016 Dianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book blew me away! I thought it could never be as good as The Good Master, but I was wrong. It's better!

Usually I hate when war comes in books because everything's better without war, right? But here Kate Seredy managed to show us so much beauty that could be found in life even in the midst of hardship during WWI (and she did not ignore the hardship).

One thing I loved about the book was the running theme that people are alike: Hungarians, Germans, Russians. Country kids and snobby city ki
One of the great books of my childhood, this one is much more serious that its predecessor "The Good Master." War and prejudice enter and interrupt the halcyon days of Kate and Jansci's Hungarian village. The illustrations of these books add to their appeal.
Jun 21, 2008 Saralyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
The sequel to "The Good Master," I might even like this one even better. Tells of what happens to the family during WWI. Nice to hear it from their perspective. LOVE this book!
Jan 26, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up rereading THE GOOD MASTER (prequel) because of the wholesome story, the beautiful illustrations, the delightful prosperity of the Hungarian ranchers. I had extremely low expectations when I stumbled upon THE SINGING TREE the other day. Well, I was wrong--it's excellent. It's not as comforting as THE GOOD MASTER, but this one is much more satisfying to the soul.

Kate Seredy has a lot more to work with in this book, with WWI as the backdrop. From racism to gender roles, compassion to the
Feb 02, 2016 Lmichelleb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a rich and powerfully touching picture of what one family can do in the midst of war and prejudice to prove that people all over the world, from different nations, races, cultures, and genders are really the same, deserving of respect and kindness and love. Tears came on several occasions during my read through this story. I know I want my family to be like the Nagy family, hospitable to all who need a safe and loving haven from the harsh world around us.
We all loved this book. It tells the story of a Hungarian family during WWI. While it discusses the war, and how it affects others, the main purpose was to show that people are people and we are all the same. Russian chicken, Hungarian chicken...all same.

My boys have repeated parts of the book to each other many times. I've seen it in their play. They all sat and listened intently, laughing and even crying. They were always eager to read it and often chose to read it before our other books. (For
Penelope Dreadfulle
This was one of my favorites as a child, so much so that I go back and read it every few years. Kate Seredy brought the Hungarian landscape to life, and taught me about World War I though the eyes of two Hungarian Children: Jansci and Kate. Its issues are more complex than The Good Master and a good introduction to adult subjects such as war and religious and racial discrimination for younger readers without the hammering that is so often seen in modern and preachy children's books. I highly rec ...more
Monica Fastenau
The book starts off happily–it’s a continuation of The Good Master, an earlier Newbery book written by Seredy, and the plot of The Singing Tree picks up where The Good Master left off. Jancsi and Kate are cousins (preteens at the beginning of the book) who ride horses, take care of chickens, and get into trouble together on Jancsi’s father’s farm in the Hungarian countryside. All the characters from the first book are enjoying life together, working on the farm and spending time with family, eve ...more
This book always makes me cry, no matter how often I read it. I think it's because it takes place during World War I, which I just see as such a waste. But the language is beautiful. Kate Seredy transmits her love for Hungary to the reader. You kind of get hit over the head with "all same," but it doesn't matter because it's true.
Sindy Zakrzewicz
This was a book that I could not put down. Although it is about a war, it shows the compassion and caring of a family and how even when times are hard they are willing to open their doors and their hearts to take in as many people as they can. To show them that life and others are there to help guide them and teach them.
Mar 05, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Report,
The Singing Tree,
historical novel, the Singing Tree by Kate Seredy, the author of the book. Wrote about life of the Hungarian including Jancsi and his cousin Kate. There life change a lot when Jancsi's father give him a permission to be in charge of his owe thinking. Because his father is going to war in 1914. Jancsi's father also Wrote about farming for his family, so they will know what they have to do when he went to war. Jancsi and Kate must grow and take care of the farm and th
Jun 23, 2015 Jekapner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very, very good! The characters are, like in the Good Master, the book that precedes it, wonderful; the depiction of rural Hungary beautiful; and the stories heartwarming and touching. One warning, though, is that if you are looking for a book with the same cheeriness as its precedent, this is not going to satisfy you. The book covers the time of World War I and its impact on Jancsi's and Kate's family, and thus is darker and less airy. This is not a bad thing –on the contrary, it ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the story again. Seredy's descriptive way of writing is very pleasant to read aloud with my kids!
Jan 23, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE SINGING TREE was hard for me to put down...a great piece of children's literature. (That includes grown-up children!)

Seredy takes the foundation of THE GOOD MASTER to much deeper levels, with poignant views of WWI on the people of the remote Hungarian plains. We see the struggles of those left behind to work the farms; the hopes of a Jewish family for lasting peace and stability; the devastating effects of separation, loss, and even shell-shock and bitter hatred...along with the strength of
Oct 23, 2008 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
World War I. War and prejudice cause pain but family love wins over all.
This is the second book I had forgotten that I read until I heard my 67 year old friend describe it to someone else. Again, I was so impressed that she remembered the name of the book. (I would have never come up with the name, even if I had remembered the plot or characters.) And I was so touched that she and I had read and enjoyed the same book, probably twenty years apart.

I remember this book being very old when I read it, probably in the early 1980s and probably borrowed either from my schoo
Apr 16, 2011 Voracious rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
Beautiful, simple and sweet.
Thomas Bell
Nov 19, 2015 Thomas Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honors
This is a sequel to another book that I really liked, the Good Master, where an obnoxious girl learns to be a great girl from her uncle, known across their little patch of Hungary as the Good Master, and becomes friends with her cousin.

Now war is about to start. This details the life of a good family in Hungary during WWI. They take in a group of Russian prisoners. Takes the burden from the state and provides the prisoners with a better sentence and also provides workers to help with the farm si
Michael Fitzgerald
A remarkable book. Its appealing predecessor (The Good Master) was pleasant and informative about Hungarian culture, but this is deep. Read it and remember that it was published in October 1939, at the very start of World War II. It tells a tale of the first great war, the "war to end all wars," but what can we, as modern readers, think when we read Moses Mandelbaum's words to Márton Nagy: "This makes me sure now...for the first time sure, that [his brothers] Joseph and Sam have not died in vain ...more
True confession: I have never read a Kate Seredy book, but my kids LOVE almost all of her books they have read. The Good Master and the Open Gate are beloved, and G is to review The Singing Tree. She thinks is it more for teens than The Good Master. I hope this review will finally help me to break down and read one of her books!

Giuli: The Singing Tree is the sequel to the Good Master. (if you haven't read the good Master, then this won't make as much sense).

Jancsi and Kate (kate is Jancsi's cou
May 08, 2011 Starry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, fiction
In this sequel to The Good Master (a juvenile novel set in rural Hungary in the early 1900s), cousins Kate and Jancsi are now 15 years old and still enjoying a serene life rich with Hungarian traditions. However, this life ends abruptly with the outbreak of World War I. Suddenly, Kate and Jancsi must shoulder the tasks of adults, see their fathers and neighbors off to war, and share their house with neighbors, relatives, Russian prisoners of war, and German refugee children.

This novel has a hap
Aug 29, 2013 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
I liked this one better than The Good Master.

"Home, as no place in the city can ever be. There you are always walled in like a prisoner, and your closest neighbors are strangers. Each family seems to live in a little cell, not knowing or caring what goes on next door. Here, miles of the plains separate us from the nearest neighbor and yet I feel among friends. I know that, should we really need help, they'd come from far and near, as we would go to them."

"Against the trunk, owls huddled sleepil
Feb 13, 2013 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alicia by: 1940 Newbery honor
I love this book. I read it aloud years ago, but just reread it to 11-year-old Josh and he loved it, too. This is the sequel to the Good Master, continuing the story of Hungarian farmers and peasants at the outbreak of World War 1. In this book, Kate Seredy shows the damage war causes to people and the land. The overall message is that people are all the SAME at heart and should be treated with respect -- Jewish, Russian, German, Hungarian. We come to love the Jewish shopkeeper, the Russian pris ...more
Lea Lea
There is a real sweetness to this book. Its main themes are: simplicity of farm life, respect and dignity for human life, the struggles of war, and family blessings. My favorite contrasts were between the innocence of its characters and the price of evil. The family unit was so strong in this book and its strength became a haven for friend and foe alike. The taste of Hungarian culture and WWI history was icing on the cake.
May 30, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-childhood
The sequel to the fabulous The Good Master. This one is more serious than the first book. It's still about Kate and Jancsi but their carefree days are over - they are forced to grow up too quickly due to the devastation of WWI.
This is the sequel to one of my favorite childhood books. I also read and loved this one as a child, but it's not the unadulterated fun of The Good Master.

This book is set in Hungary in 1914, and that means trouble. We see the opening of WWI and the rise of anti-Semitism through the eyes of young Kate and Jancsi. The story still includes fun moments with weddings and puppies, but overall it's much more serious in tone. I don't often cry when I read books, but this one still has the power to mak
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Seredy (Serédy Kató) was a gifted writer and illustrator, born in Hungary, who moved to the United States in 1922. She is best known for The Good Master, written in 1935, and for the Newbery Award winner, The White Stag.
More about Kate Seredy...

Other Books in the Series

Kate and Jancsi (2 books)
  • The Good Master

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