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3.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,023 ratings  ·  111 reviews
A Bulgarian peasant boy must convince his mother that he is destined to be a sculptor, not a farmer.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1st 1967 by Viking Press (first published 1934)
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Average rating 3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,023 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Sep 13, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
You know how there's often an excerpt of the book on the cover--something to make the book sound exciting so people will want to read it? This is what's on the back cover of DOBRY:

Roda, the mother, baked bread in the courtyard ovens. First she built up wood fires in the ovens until their openings glowed redder than their tile roofs. When the ovens were hot enough Roda raked out the coals and put in the loaves of bread, well wrapped in horseradish leaves which Dobry brought.

When the fi
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book while dipping into a favorite book of mine on reading with children called Bequest of Wings by Annis Duff. Mrs. Duff was mentioning great children's books with food in them! I was intrigued and picked this one up as it won the Newberry. I found this book absolutely sweet and interesting about a peasant boy in Bulgaria who lives with his mother and grandfather. They bake and farm for a living, yet Dobry has an artist's eye and a bent for beauty in the ordinary. This book is very ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though I have no idea of Shannon's qualifications to write of Bulgarian peasant life, I do remember enjoying this beautifully written story when I read it for the Newbery club:

I don't think I would have enjoyed it as a child, though, as it's so subtle and quiet.

I particularly liked bits of wisdom like this:

"When we eat the good bread we are eating months of sunlight, weeks of rain and snow from the sky, richness out of the earth. We eat everything now, clouds even. It becomes part of us.... We s
Shauna Edwards
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Young Dobry lived with his mother and grandfather in the mountains of Bulgaria. He was a very talented artist who painted, drew, and sculpted incredible pieces of artwork. Though extremely gifted, his mom’s expectation was for him to work on the family farm. Dobry’s passion, however, was not to become a farmer, but rather to attend art school and become a successful artist.

Dobry shared his simple country life with Neda, his best friend. Together they shared all the exciting events of Bulgarian
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery
PRE-SCRIPT: My eldest helped me to see that Dobry's name may be a diminuitive-type name, based on the Croatian (and we're thinking, surely, Bulgarian) word "dobro," which means "good."
Makes me smile. How about you?

I love Dobry! I loved learning so much about the culture of a small village in Bulgaria. (I'm hoping there was some historical/cultural accuracy.) I enjoyed the descriptions of day-to-day life and the seasonal goings-on in the village. A gypsy bear that gives massages and lets the peop
I am beginning to think my quest to read all the Newbery winners is a colossal waste of time. I'm not sure if children were really boring in 1934, or easier to please than today's children, or if the Newbery committee just did an awful job choosing the books back then, but this book was so boring. It is about a young boy living in Bulgaria and his daily life.

Maybe it was not acceptable back then to write books about the real challenges kids face, or to have complex characters, or to make kids r
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I was a bit surprised at the lovely little bits of Orthodoxy found here. It's more slow-paced than I had expected, but a sweet little book nonetheless, with an overall optimistic and happy tone.
Michael Fitzgerald

Apparently, this book is based on the life of the artist Atanas Katchamakoff (whose illustrations are included in the edition I read).

I really wish this fact were better publicized. The book really deserves a preface and an afterword that talk more about Katchamakoff and how much of the story is true. One would think that Newbery Medal Books 1922-1955 would provide this kind of informa
Jan 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: don't think a kid or young adult would enjoy this unless for the Bulgarian cultural factor
Shelves: newbery-medal
A real yawn fest, this on. I didn't care for it at all and don't think I would have spent the time finishing it if it weren't part of my goal of reading all the Newberys. It has no plot! No conflict! I just have a hard time believing that everyone in a poor farming community in Bulgaria would be upbeat, carefree and contented all the time. I just don't buy it. Yes, it's interesting to learn things about Bulgarian life and culture such as how they nod their heads for no and shake their heads for ...more
Jul 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, newbery
Winner of the 1935 Newbery, this is the tale of a young Bulgarian peasant lad who lives with his mother and story-telling grandfather. A fledgling artist, a primitivist, and quasi-mystic, Dobry lives in the moment of every day, enraptured equally at the falling of snow, the flight of storks, the babble of a river, the baking of good bread with cheese and butter, a snow-melting contest, or a massage by a tame gypsy bear. As he lives and works through the months and seasons, he develops his art as ...more
Jan 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, newbery
Newbery winner. 1935

I wanted to give this book more stars just so my review started in stark contrast to all the 2 & 3 star ones that really hated it. Why give a book ANY stars if you disliked it that much? Oh the weirdo social implications of rating a book. I don't think I'd recommend this book, but I certainly wouldn't defame it like The Wheel on the School or Miss Hickory. (One of the plus points on reading others reviews was seeing that someone else agreed that this book had some WTF mom
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise of this book is fairly boring, but Dobry is such a lively character that he made it enjoyable for me. He embodies mindfulness and what it can do to create happiness even in very humble circumstances.
“The Peasant Boy who Would be an Artist”

Set in the mountains of 1913 Bulgaria this rambling story covers some 4 years in the life on a strapping peasant boy. Nestled at the foot of the many mountains of Bulgaria his village carries on the rhythm of life closely aligned with the seasons. His Grandfather is an admired storyteller, proud of his strength like an ox and ability to withstand the cold (Polar Bear-like plunge in the River and the annual Snow Melting Contest). His mother, Roda, a widow w

Dobry is a young boy living in the Balkan highlands of Bulgaria. The story is about his coming-of-age and self-discovery. Dobry is different from the rest of the peasant villagers. Yes, he can work the land and manage the livestock like his fellow villagers, but Dobry is an artist. He never falters in his desire to be who he is, even though his mother thinks his aspirations are impractical. Thanks to Dobry's wise and understanding grandfather, Roda, Dobry's mother, comes to realize that she must
Benji Martin
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
This Newbery winner, more than any other that I've read so far has me feeling very conflicted. I can see that it's a charming book. (Any book that starts with a boy sick in bed because he ate too many tomatoes has got to be at least a little charming right?) I liked the simpleness of the story, I loved the illustrations, and I loved the Bulgarian setting. I knew practically nothing about Bulgaria before reading Dobry, and I'm certain that I've never read a novel set in Bulgaria before.

Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-winners
Newbery Medal Winner--1935

The tiny blurb for this one reads "a Bulgarian peasant boy must convince his mother that he is destined to be a sculptor, not a farmer." Well...kind of. The first hundred pages barely mention any art--it's mostly picking vegetables and wheat. Oh...and waiting for the Gypsies to come with their gypsy bear. Who gives massages. (This was a real thing--I looked it up.) The second half has a little more action and we see Dobry get more involved with drawing and clay. There a
And the Newbery read/re-read continues. I don't remember this one at all. It kind of starts off stilted and awful. We are in a Bulgarian mountain village following a young boy, who eventually grows to be a young man. Much of that book has that untrusted feel to it - it shows us detailed of life in a place and a time that I want to think are true and real but I'm not sure that it is. There is a mixture of stories woven into the book that also seems to get better as the book goes on. In the end th ...more
Must. Keep. Going. Even the massaging gypsy bear couldn't make this book less painful. Yes. A massaging gypsy bear.

One day I will look back and proudly say 'I have read all of the Newbery award winners'. No pain. No gain.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery, 2017
A good book, but I didn't love it. Interesting because the setting is different than any other Newbery I've read.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery, kids, 2009

Everything is different, each leaf, if you really look. There is no leaf exactly like that one in the whole world. Every stone is different. No other stone exactly like it. That is it, Dobry. God loves variety... He makes a beautiful thing and nothing else in the whole world is exactly like it... In odd days like these ... people study how to be all alike instead of how to be as different as they really are.

This is another of the out-of-print Newberys. It's definitely not the best of what we've
Alicia Farmer
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery-winners
(From my review of this book here:

I chose this book more or less randomly. When one is planning to read all Newbery books sooner or later, there is no wrong selection. They all "count" toward the end goal (and I am nothing if not goal oriented).

Yet the two things that drew me to the book once it was in my hands were the title and the cover illustration. The book had no jacket-cover preview. I was left to discern what I could from its appearance.

To this f
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2013 added it
79 1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon (Viking)

Aug. 27, 2013 176 pages

Dobry is a Bulgaira peasant boy who lives with his mother and grandfather. The family is hard-working and their days are full of traditions. Dobry has a gift for art. He begins by drawing with charcoal and later learns to sculpt. The book also features stories told by the grandfather or by Dobry.

"Come, come!" Grandfather said impatiently. But when he saw a leaf all ruddy gold like a living coal he picked it up, put it away in his s
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dobry is a nice book. The portrayal of simple life in a typical Bulgarian village is charming, with interesting tall tales from the culture spread generously throughout the text so as to add some flavor to the novel's very basic mainframe.

Dobry, a boy from Bulgaria who is full of life and energy and good humor, comes from a family line of bread makers. He loves warm bread straight from the oven just as all of his kin does, but as time passes he begins to come into the realization of his own bea
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Dobry by Monica Shannon was an interesting book. It is about a Bulgarian boy named Dobry who lives his life normally, but then discovers his sense of creativity and wants to become a sculptor. This book also won the Newbery Medal. However, I don't think this book is anything that is very significant. The plot didn't develop very well, and it was mostly just consisted of Dobry doing various things in the town. The sculptor part didn't even show up until pretty late in the book, and even then ther ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a very poetic well-written book with some valuable themes: hard work, accepting a child for who he is, getting along with you neighbors, and being grateful for what you have. But that being said, I don't see this as a book that would interest a kid at all.
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: jf-general
This book was a little too uneventful for my tastes. It is basically about the every day lives of Bulgarian peasants who live in a mountainous area. It was a bit dull reading about their every day activities, but these peasants kept busy from sun up to sun down. The highlights of their lives seemed to be the coming of the gypsy bear, who helped them know when it was safe to bathe in the river Yantra, and who also massaged anyone who wanted one, by walking on their backs. The other highlight was ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is a slow-paced book with an old-fashioned, slightly foreign feel. It reminded me a little of parts of the Betsy-Tacy books. It's a good story, with lots of description, but I had a hard time getting through it. This is one of those styles of writing that I have to be in the mood for, and when trying to review 100 books, a slow pace is just killer. I would consider going back to it, but overall this is one of those Newberys that is not going to appeal to everyone.
I don't think this would ap
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery
I liked this book about peasant life in Bulgaria for its characters, warmth, optimism, and focus on family. Dobry’s grandfather, a strong and positive presence in his life, is my favorite character—a great role model for maintaining vitality as I age! Grandfather eventually convinces Dobry’s mother—widowed during World War I—to let her artistically talented son break from the family tradition of tending their land to attend art school in a distant city to develop his gift.

This 1934 Newbery winn
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
A snapshot of life in a Bulgarian farming village, presumably just after WWI. Dobry lives with his widowed mother and his grandfather. They expect that he will continue the family tradition and be a farmer, but he discovers a passion for art. His break from expectations is paralleled by the changes in society (there are hints of the larger world outside the village). The story is disjointed -- suddenly it is "four years later," and Dobry is an adolescent. Grandfather is a great raconteur who nee ...more
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Children's Books: The Medal winner from 1935 - 4/1/2014 - Dobry 14 67 Mar 08, 2017 09:59AM  

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