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Adam of the Road

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,054 Ratings  ·  249 Reviews
The adventures of eleven-year-old Adam as he travels the open roads of thirteenth-century England searching for his missing father, a minstrel, and his stolen red spaniel, Nick.
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published November 1st 1987 by Perfection Learning (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
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
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.
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.
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 .
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
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 12, 2016 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
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
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.
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 21, 2014 Sevananazari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because the cover and the short paragraph about the story appealed to me. This book is about an eleven year old boy who travels the road of Medieval England, visiting town and encountering a variety of different people. Adam’s father, Roger, a minstrel in thirteenth-century England, talks to him about the road.Outgoing and cheerful, Adam manages to keep his head, learn from his misfortunes, practice patience, and depend on the road to finally bring a happy reunion ever since hi ...more
Tory Anderson
Feb 04, 2014 Tory Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, childrens
Like most good books this book was good on several levels. As historical fiction it was great. We find ourselves living with Adam in Medieval England. The words "Medieval England" always bring a shudder to me. My perception is that the time was harsh and life very difficult. Adam of the Road doesn't try to tell me differently, but it does show me the color of the age and that kindness, love, and courage existed then, as now.

Adam of the Road is also a "journey" story featuring luck, ingenuity, p
Sep 20, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenshelf
Although stories about Merrie Olde England are a dime a dozen in children's literature, the book won me over in the end because of its authenticity of detail. There was very little anachronism, and readers who stick with Adam through the whole journey will come away feeling like they made a visit to Chaucer's England. All that stuff you read about medieval life is seamlessly woven into the plot with a light and sure hand. The book doesn't shy away from showing the hardships of the time period, y ...more
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!
Benji Martin
Adam of the Road is a bit longer than the few Newbery winners leading up to 1943, but it is a lot better than them too. I really liked Adam, and the adventures he had looking for his dog and his dad. I appreciated that the narrator didn't try to hide Adam or Roger's flaws, but still presented the characters in a likable way. Of course, being published in 1943, the writing is a bit archaic and I doubt many of my students would read it, especially when there are books like The Seven Tales of Trink ...more
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
May 24, 2015 D.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberies
I agree that this is a Newbery selection that you just may find yourself enjoying and staying with for longer sittings than a typical Newbery. The writing is simple yet crisp, the setting is believable and fascinating to anyone interested in the medieval times, and the story deviates from typical Newbery story lines. It may not be something that kids would pick up, but if they did, I'm sure they would be fairly engrossed. Not a whole lot of negative qualities here, but nothing truly outstanding, ...more
Winner of the 1943 Newbery. In late 13th-century England, eleven-year-old Adam and his trusty spaniel Nick await at St. Alban's abbey the return of Adam’s father, the minstrel Roger, who has been wandering and plying his trade. The family is reunited, but after Adam's dog is stolen, he gives chase, and loses Roger again. There begins a long wandering, from London to Winchester and Oxford, over months, as Adam gets by on his minstrel skills and from the kindness of strangers.

As with most early Ne
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
This was a re-read for me as I read it when I was a girl but couldn't remember the story very well enough to know if it still fits with my standards that I'm trying to have for my books. I am sad to say I did not enjoy it as much as I remembered doing the first time I read it. It's not a bad book but I just wasn't as interested in the story as other books I've read.

The writer's style is very simple so that's very nice for young reader's, especially with all the new words and terms the author us
Aug 18, 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
Mar 20, 2011 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery, kids
I liked this story. It was fun and sweet and scattered here and there with quaint observations and bits of wisdom.

For instance, give someone a gift when you won't be seeing them for awhile -- "It was easier to say goodbye when you had something to give."

Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself -- "For the first time in his life he had played the part of an oyster. He had taken the bit of grit that was scratching him and made something of it that was comfortable to him and pleasing to someone outside
Apr 26, 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
Aug 22, 2009 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, finished-in-2009
A rather charming, old-school "road novel" about an 11-year-old minstrel named Adam who gets separated from his father and his stolen dog, then spends 2/3rds of the novel traipsing all over 13th-century England in search of both. Adam meets all manner of people, high and low, kind and villainous, and author Elizabeth Janet Gray (who tutored the Emperor Akihito of Japan!) embeds plenty of historical tidbits along the way. Certainly you get a flavor for life on the road in those days, and of minst ...more
Kathryn McCary
A friend identified this as the first book he had ever read cover-to-cover all by himself, and it rang a bell; when I came across a copy I picked it up and read it. I can't honestly say if I read it as a child (I remember reading a book about a boy acrobat travelling in medieval England, with a dog. . .but nothing in the book was familiar). Certainly, I enjoyed it as an adult but with reservations I would not have had, as a child, about the degree of authenticity in the characters'language and i ...more
Apr 05, 2016 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what so ever what to expect from this book. I just picked it up and started reading. It was really easy to read but at the same time had an interesting, fasted paced, and well researched book about 13 century times in England. Its a classic and was written in the 1940's but that does not mean it's impossible to read. Quite the contrary actually just about anyone could read and somewhat enjoy this book.
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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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