All member reviews for Catherine, Called Birdy

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Common Sense Media says

Spirited novel offers warts-and-all view of the Middle Ages.

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Quality(i)

 

Users say

(out of 3 reviews)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Review this title!
Kid, 12 years old January 23, 2015
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

One of my favorite books of all time

WARNING THIS IS A REALLY LONG REVIEW THAT I WROTE FOR SCHOOL This book tells the story of 14 year old Catherine, called Birdy by her friends and family. And an interesting group they are. There are her brothers: gentle Edward, a monk, who taught her to write, Thomas, who serves the king, and the abominable Robert. There is Morwenna, her eternally scolding nurse, and Perkin, the goat boy who wants to be a scholar, and is her best friend. This engaging and heartwarming story begins as Edward asks Catherine, who “utterly loathes” her life, to write an account of her days as the daughter of a beastly minor nobleman in the early Middle Ages. Her first few entries are mainly complaints about sewing and spinning and ticks, but become deeper as she learns of her fatherʼs latest plot to marry her off to a rich man, any rich man, no matter how horrible. Catherine isnʼt going down without a fight, and manages to save herself from the first few suitors, using a combination of wit, luck, her interesting dowry, and privy fires. Until she comes up against “The Pig”, an old, cantankerous man with manners even worse than her fatherʼs. Catherine is determined not to wed this most persistent suitor, plotting to be a tumbler, a wart charmer, anything to escape this betrothal. But when she uses his gift to save a mistreated bear, her fate seems sealed. Told in a touching diary format, this is the tale of Catherine of Stonebridge, a funny, thoughtful, scheming, dreaming, and seemingly ignorant girl who has the wisdom to realize that, “some stories are true and some stories are just stories”. Catherine has a powerfully unique voice that will stay with you long after you have closed this bookʼs pages. Karen Cushmanʼs debut novel includes many details about life in the Middle Ages, including information on healing, clothing, festivals, and food and is a sure favorite for fans of historical fiction.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byluiysia June 29, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

good book

A fun character with an interesting story and good message that's not too heavy-handed. Some mild language and medieval partying/brawling, but generally fine for kids.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byCommonSenseChristian May 3, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

She's a Damsel, She's in Distress...She Can Handle This.

Thirteen-year-old Catherine is growing up in 1290 England. Thus, she's already expected to act like an adult as her mother trains her to become a lady of the manor. But Catherine wants nothing to do with this, and she certainly doesn't want her blowhard father to marry her off to a rich, ugly, unpleasant baron. Catherine will concoct any plan and pull any prank to keep herself from this fate, sometimes with hilarious results. She tells us all about it, and Medieval life, in the diary she keeps at the behest of her beloved brother Edward, a monk at a nearby monastery. Catherine is an intelligent, spunky character who's way ahead of her time. She struggles with things modern readers can relate to: obeying parents, accepting societal expectations, and crafting her own identity. Funnily enough, she wants to be anyone but herself; she considers becoming a nun, a juggler, a minstrel, and all manner of other occupations to avoid marriage. In the end though, she does learn her own value, and finds happiness in her position. The Middle Ages was a rather gross and gritty time period, and the author stays true to that. Bodily functions and diseases are discussed, as is death by childbirth, sometimes in detail. Sexual interaction, even incest, is hinted at with less than discretion. Catherine and other characters swear. Catherine's father regularly abuses her physically; she and other characters see this as completely normal. These things said, Catherine, Called Birdy is a great intro to the Middle Ages for appropriate audiences.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much swearing