Bonnie's Reviews > Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz
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's review
Apr 26, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens, library-books, historical-fiction, reviewed
Read in April, 2008

This is another Newbery Medal winner. Thankfully I liked it a lot better than Whittington.

It's a collection of poems that are good to read aloud, or even act out, of children who live in a Medievil village in England. These children are refered to as the child of whatever their parent's profession is. For example, the Tanner's Son. They talk a lot about their parent's profession, which will be their profession when they grow up, and some readers might debate why not just have it be from the adult's perspective? But I think having it the way it is helps kids who read it to feel a closer connection with these people who lived almost 800 years ago.

It's a very interesting and informative book, and I learned a lot from it myself. For example, I had no idea that they made the Jewish residents wear yellow badges to identify themselves. I thought that it was just the Nazis that did that. The author does a good job of defining words and giving short explanations along the border of the page.

The part that did not work for me was that they were "poems." I put that in quotes because it's highly debatable how many of them are actual poems, and it would have been much less clunky if she had not tried to force them to fit into a poem format.

This is not to say that all the poems are "poems." Some of them are very nice. The one that immediately comes to mind is the one by the son of the miller, about how everyone cheats everyone to survive. That one is quite beautiful.

All in all, the author does a remarkable job at keeping this from being dry reading, and it's a book that all age groups can enjoy and learn from at the same time.

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