Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village Book Poster Image
Unique, brilliant, award-winning history book.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Typical of medieval Christian society, villagers are prejudiced against Jews and Muslims.

Violence

A boar is hunted and killed; references to child abuse; a boy is beaten by other boys; a man is beaten to death; killing in war; an attempted drowning of a baby.

Sex

Kissing.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man is referred to as a drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is some violence here, including what would now be considered child abuse, and that medieval Christian society was prejudiced against Jews and Muslims.

User Reviews

Adult Written byFlyingbull April 9, 2008
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bypeony April 9, 2008

Outstanding! A moving spectrum of medieval life, including harsh realities

The short dramatic monologues format makes for a vivid view of a spectrum of children in a medieval village. Short and captivating, yet educational too. A com... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old March 7, 2010

great EDUCATIONAL BOOK

there is not much to worry about. The violence is nothing worse than a boar getting killed and the only language is he** being used in the context of a place. M... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 24, 2008

A great story for people who like drama and medieval times!

This book is one of my favorite books ever! I read it when I was eight and loved it! One of my favorite things about this book is that when there are words the... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 19 monologues and two dialogs in verse and prose, the lives of a cast of characters from a medieval village -- nobles and peasants, but all children -- are illuminated. Through them, along with margin notes and periodic background sections, a portrait of life in the Middle Ages is created. Includes Author's Foreword and Bibliography.

Is it any good?

The ways of the ALA Committees can be passing strange, but 2007 was one of the years they got it right. Just as the Caldecott Award went to The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, a work that blended graphic novel and prose to create the most original novel of the year, so the Newbery Award was given to GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES!, a unique and vivid work that blends fiction, nonfiction, and drama to create something entirely new.

Everything works beautifully here. The styles and voices of the characters vary according to their personalities, the author's own voice is warm and direct, and the illustrations and page design make this an attractive and accessible volume. Lots of information is given, but it is never dry or academic -- the format of monologues by fictional but realistic characters keeps it lively and engrossing. The book will appeal to many kids, including those who don't usually choose nonfiction, and will be useful for history classes and drama productions and workshops. Even reluctant readers will enjoy the clear, direct text, short length, and dramatic content. We can even hope that this brilliant book, with its awards and attendant success, may lead to a renaissance of books for kids that make history come alive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Middle Ages. What would it have been like to live then? Which of the characters would you like to be? Why? Also, why do you think this book was chosen for the biggest book award?

Book details

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate