My August selections for Amy’s Newbery through the Decades challenge were two books by Karen Cushman that I have had on my list to read for a long time: The Midwife’s Apprentice and Catherine, Called Birdy. And I’m so glad I did. I loved both these books.
I loved Catherine and Beetle, two fiesty but completely believable medieval girls. I think it would be fantastic to read both books together with a student and compare the different Beetle, discovered homeless and hungry and sleeping in a dung heap by a village midwife, is in more obvious dire circumstances. However, if you compare her story to Catherine’s, the daughter of minor nobility who is struggling against her father’s schemes to marry her off to the highest bidder, Beetle has more freedom. I also really liked that Cushman allows both girls a happy ending but one that fits in with the time period. These two books are definitely going on my list to read and discuss with my kids.