Andrea's Reviews > The Midwife's Apprentice

The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
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's review
Aug 01, 2011

Now that school is back in and I have easy access to a library, I decided to pick up some more Newbery winners, and this was first in the pile next to my bed.

I fell in love with this book within two pages. I felt an immediate affection for Brat, the title character. She begins the book as a homeless orphan, forced to live by her wits, with barely enough of anything to survive. She became apprenticed to the midwife, a cold, harsh woman whose main concern was money, simply because the midwife considered Brat the cheapest help she could find.

Over time, Brat learns quite a bit, even if she doesn't realize it until called upon to deliver a child in the midwife's absence. This sets into motion a series of events that lead Brat (who, in a burst of pride at a job well done has re-christened herself Alyce) to leave the midwife's cottage and head out into the world.

Her new position as inn-girl in a nearby town only serves to increase her self-confidence and, when she encounters a young homeless boy, she has enough confidence to help him.

The end of the book was predictable - Alyce returns to the midwife - but absolutely satisfying. I am glad of books like this, that teach the children who read them the power of perseverance and hard work.

I especially liked the appendix, which gave a bit of detail about what a midwife does, and how the profession has changed in modern times.

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