Mock Newbery 2022 discussion

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
This topic is about The Inquisitor's Tale
225 views
Book of the Month - 2017 > October Read - The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Comments Showing 1-35 of 35 (35 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 570 comments Mod
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz has charmed readers all over the nation...but is it distinguished?


message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim McGee (kimsbookstack) | 76 comments It is hard to pin this in one age group or genre because of the book's complex language and subject matter. This is the first book I have read that balanced religious persecution with humor. Chaucer meets the Wimpy Kid best describes it for me! It is distinguished only because Gidwitz tackled some tough subject matter in a "fun" way. There is much to discuss but I don't know if the audience he was going after will get the real story or just skim to the funny parts.


Brenda Kahn | 28 comments I don't know how much they will "get" the history but they sure will get the universality of feeling bullied and powerless. My fifth and sixth graders study the time period and many are fans of his Grimm tales. I think Gidwitz did something special here.


Monica Edinger | 64 comments I have a 4th grader finishing it up now. Has been really enjoying it. Looking forward to talking to him about the ending.

There's a fine review of it in this weekend's NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/09/boo...


Kathy (thebrainlair) | 66 comments I just finished the audio. There were moments that I had unknowingly stopped what I was doing because I was so engrossed. I put this, at the very least, on the honor track. Unique approach to subject matter. Complex and thought-provoking but still accessible.

I will need to re-read and examine the text but I think it's a contender. Reminds me of last year's Echo.


Reving | 106 comments Brenda wrote: "I don't know how much they will "get" the history but they sure will get the universality of feeling bullied and powerless. My fifth and sixth graders study the time period and many are fans of his..."
I really, really, really appreciated your review of this book! I am a few hours into the audio and really enjoying it but I love what you said about the universality and that Gidwitz did something special here - that just really sums it up for me so far!


message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate | 178 comments King Louis IX of France is the only French monarch who has been made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. France in the 13th century is the setting for the Inquisitor’s Tale, which portrays Louis IX as a rabid anti-semite and a burner of books, particularly those in Hebrew. Characters in the book discuss theological conundrums, such as how to recognize a saint, an angel or satan.
Children reading this book are probably more interested in the narrative about three magical children and their dog. But an adult reader may ponder the paradox of why a king who mistreated Jews in his country has been chosen for canonization.
Because this book can be interpreted on many levels, it is difficult to evaluate it thoroughly.


Reving | 106 comments I loved this. Still Towers Falling is my first choice and hope...but this is close... http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/...


Shari | 85 comments It took me awhile to get into this book and I wonder if children will like it. They'll certainly love the dragon with the terrible farts. I relied on my prior knowledge about the Crusades, the Talmud, and the structure of the Canterbury Tales to support my comprehension and appreciation of the story. What happens to children who do not have this background knowledge. I was disappointed by the illuminations. This book does not get my vote. I'm stilling liking the fox books.


message 10: by Tamara (new) - added it

Tamara | 28 comments What I loved about The Inquisitor's Tale included Michelangelo, the narrative structure, Gwenforte, witnessing the children grow past their taught prejudices, their friendship, the reverence for the wisdom contained in books, the vocabulary, and the resolution.

Yet, I was disappointed. I'm a great fan of Gidwitz's Grimm trilogy, so I preordered The Inquisitor's Tale and then waited by the mailbox, talking it up to my students the whole time. My big disappointment lies in the realization that I can't imagine my 5th grade students, who are also Grimm fans, enjoying or even finishing The Inquisitor's Tale. Some of the aspects that I loved--the history, the exploration of religious biases, the vocabulary, the narrative structure--all combined may make it inaccessible to my 10-year-olds. I would love to be wrong.


Czechgirl | 214 comments Reving wrote: "I loved this. Still Towers Falling is my first choice and hope...but this is close... http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/..."

Is The Wild Robot still a consideration for you for Newbery?


message 12: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Harrison | 396 comments Czechgirl wrote: "Reving wrote: "I loved this. Still Towers Falling is my first choice and hope...but this is close... http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/..."

Is The Wild Robot still a consi..."


I think Wild Robot is a strong contender. Raymie Nightingale is still my call for the gold.


Czechgirl | 214 comments Laura wrote: "Czechgirl wrote: "Reving wrote: "I loved this. Still Towers Falling is my first choice and hope...but this is close... http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/..."

Is The Wild R..."


Laura, I want The Wild Robot to win, but I think Pax will win the gold. I love both. I also love Wolf Hollow.


Reving | 106 comments Czechgirl wrote: "Reving wrote: "I loved this. Still Towers Falling is my first choice and hope...but this is close... http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/..."

Is The Wild Robot still a consi..."

Oh gosh!
I forgot about Wild Robot!
I would say first Towers Falling, then Wild Robot, then this one!
THANK YOU for reminding me!!


Reving | 106 comments Czechgirl, I really love your "favorite books" shelf! I don't know why but I just can't get into Pax and Wolf Hollow! But I need to check out the others you liked! Have you read Towers Falling?


Czechgirl | 214 comments Reving wrote: "Czechgirl, I really love your "favorite books" shelf! I don't know why but I just can't get into Pax and Wolf Hollow! But I need to check out the others you liked! Have you read Towers Falling?"

Yes. I wasn't going to read it, but read it based upon your review alone. Yes, I still follow your blog. I loved Towers Falling, just not as much as I loved The Wild Robot and Pax.


Czechgirl | 214 comments Reving wrote: "Czechgirl, I really love your "favorite books" shelf! I don't know why but I just can't get into Pax and Wolf Hollow! But I need to check out the others you liked! Have you read Towers Falling?"

Reving: If you have time, look at my post on my blog: http://czechgirlreads.com/my-favorite...

I'm finding out I'm not much of a blogger like I bullet journal, but I wanted you to see my list.


message 18: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Harrison | 396 comments Czechgirl wrote: "Laura wrote: "Czechgirl wrote: "Reving wrote: "I loved this. Still Towers Falling is my first choice and hope...but this is close... http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/..."
..."


Raymie made my heart do acrobatics. In the best way. A middle grade or young adult novel hasn't done that to me in ages. Pax is next for me followed by Wild Robot. I hope there are several silver winners this year. Such a great year for children's books.


message 19: by Tamara (new) - added it

Tamara | 28 comments I'm ready for What's Next. I recently loved Gertie's Leap to Greatness. Anyone else?


Shari | 85 comments Gertie's Leap to Greatness is a GREAT choice!


Debbie Tanner | 24 comments I just finished Inquisitor's Tale and I LOVED it. I liked Gertie, but Inquisitor's tale (to me) feels so much different from everything else. I loved the connection to Chaucer's tales, I loved the Jewish history, I loved the racism and sexism issues... I loved the religious aspects. I just thought it was terrific.


Tamsyn | 80 comments I agree with you, Debbie! The aspects you mentioned-- except racism-- are rarely seen in books for this age and dealt with sensitively, yet not in a patronizing way. I think a lot of kids will experience the journey to tolerance with these magical children. Unique and distinguished.


message 23: by Czechgirl (last edited Oct 31, 2016 03:35PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Czechgirl | 214 comments I am so sorry Mr. Gidwitz. I loved A Tale Dark and Grimm, but did not care for this book. I got bored of it after William left the monastery. There were a few times it got interesting here and there, but there were many times I wanted to abandoned the book, but held on to the end because everybody and I mean everybody is loving this book. Why two stars? If I am going to abandon a book so many times, why did I not rate it one star? I can appreciate the researched history, the rich vocabulary and the writing, but it took me so long to finish this book--3 weeks. I didn't ever want to just pick it up and read it. Why not three stars? I can't imagine it holding any of my fifth graders' attention.


message 24: by Barb (new) - rated it 3 stars

Barb | 35 comments Enjoyed the medieval setting, complexity of each character, and the weaving together of each tale from various storytellers - yet, wonder what young readers will think about this book....


message 25: by Ana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ana Marlatt | 73 comments I really enjoyed this book. I was intrigued by the characters and the complex plot. It is not easy to find a book for children that takes place in medieval times. The author takes a very hard setting and time and transforms it into a very interesting tale. I think it is all about unity in diversity, and the idea that we all have the same needs, even though we can be from different backgrounds and beliefs. This idea is wonderful, and much needed these days... However, like so many in this group, I wonder how many of my students will enjoy and be able to connect with this book. It sits on my shelf at school... And I did give it a great review to the class. So far, I have had no takers.
P.S.: I also truly enjoyed the author's not at the end!!!


message 26: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen Ferry (librarygarden) | 86 comments I too ended up really enjoyed this book, but unfortunately it took me about 3 weeks to finish. The last 1/3 of the book went much quicker, since it was action packed.
Our local library system has chosen IT as one of the 4 Mock Newbery titles. On Friday our 5th/6th students that are participating finally got their hands on the book. Many of our students are really looking forward to starting it after doing some sleuthing on it and listening to a little of the audio version. With that said we decided to give them background reading about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam so that they will have a better understanding about what is happening. Along with some reading about the Crusades. I'll be interested to see how this first round of reading goes with the students. The other books in the Mock are Ms. Bixby's Last Day, The Wild Robot, and Wolf Hollow.


Becky | 31 comments I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characterizations were vivid and, for the most part, the plot moved quickly. I did worry that this would be a book that would be enjoyed by adults and not kids. However, my students who have read it so far have really liked it and couldn't put it down. This is on my short list for the Newbery for sure!


Linda | 19 comments Jen, I would be interested in hearing how your students like this title. Wondering if the background reading you are doing first is essential. As a public librarian, I don't know how to sell this awesome book!


Jennifer | 31 comments Speaking as an adult- The Inquisitor's Tale is my current Newbery pick. I have totally ignored the world today, to finish it. :) But, I would love to hear what students are thinking of it.


message 30: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Nagel | 86 comments I really liked this one too. Gidwitz was wildly popular with students for his Tales a Dark and Grimm series...so I think those readers will also love this one. Friendship and heroes but also depth and inspiration make it a title with some teeth, but also just enough action and gore, also a a farting dragon that makes it fun.


Stephanie Sapp | 54 comments An incredible amount of research to write this book, the type of book the Newbery committee would like. A unique way of storytelling and historical fiction = winner.


Virginia (virginiap) | 33 comments I really liked this book! Gidwitz's style shows through, but the book also made me really think. As many of you have noted, this book has a lot of mature themes, but I believe they are dealt with quite well, and this book fills a hole in the children's literature canon about this time period. There are few good books (I can think of maybe 2 or 3) written for kids in middle grades/ early middle school about the middle ages. As far as Newbery goes-- who knows! I love it for the older "Newbery set", but not so much for the 3rd-4th grade range. See my review for more...!


Travis (wmtravis) | 19 comments I'm so excited this won an Honor! The immense research really shows itself in this novel, without ever being heavy-handed or pedantic. In fact, it was the opposite; this book was a blast! I adore other middle grade medieval novels like Avi's Cross of Lead, but this put me in mind of one of my all-time favorites, Catherine, Called Birdy (you know, just with more miracles and explosive dragon farts). The accolade is well-deserved, in my opinion!


message 34: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa (lisa3moon) | 50 comments This is a terrific book! I love it, but just can't determine who in my school would read it. It is long and the language is daunting. I'm going to do my best to "sell" this book as the exciting and fast-paced story that it is.


Mary HD (marymaclan) | 96 comments Read this a while ago...at the time, I felt that a number of the plot choices reflected modern concerns rather than remaining faithful to the historical period. I also felt that the episodic structure impeded rather than enhanced my enjoyment of the book.

Perhaps it's a matter of taste. I like getting caught up in a story and I remember fondly quite a few page-turners with medieval settings: Avi's Cross of Lead and Coats' The Wicked and the Just, Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur and Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthurian trilogy, Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls trilogy...

Since then I have read an illuminating interview with Mr. Gidwitz, which made clear just how careful and thorough he had been with his research in writing this book. So I guess I was not giving him the benefit of the doubt! But this was a book I admired more than enjoyed.


back to top