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The Midwife's Apprentice | [Karen Cushman]

The Midwife's Apprentice

Lyrical yet unsentimental, The Midwife's Apprentice won the coveted 1996 Newbery Medal. Filled with striking characters, it paints unforgettable pictures of village life in the Middle Ages, the midwife's craft, and a very remarkable girl's growing independence and pride.
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Publisher's Summary

Lyrical yet unsentimental, The Midwife's Apprentice won the coveted 1996 Newbery Medal. Filled with striking characters, it paints unforgettable pictures of village life in the Middle Ages, the midwife's craft, and a very remarkable girl's growing independence and pride.

Brat has no name, no home, and no shelter against the 14th-century English winter except the foul warmth of a dung heap. So when Jane the Midwife wakes her with a kick and takes the half-starved creature to her cottage, a curious relationship begins. Jane teaches Brat to gather herbs and make the poultices used to ease the pain of childbirth for the village women.

The skinny young girl quickly learns to obey the sharp-tongued midwife, and secretly watches Jane practice her art whenever she can. But Jane is also teaching Brat unspoken lessons that will take longer - maybe a lifetime - to master.

©1995 Karen Cushman; (P)1996 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (175 )
5 star
 (64)
4 star
 (48)
3 star
 (45)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (141 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (5)
Story
4.0 (141 )
5 star
 (62)
4 star
 (43)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-22-12
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-22-12 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1035
    ratings
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    334
    210
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    "A good morality tale for young people"

    A short but good book with a good moral. Written for young people, but if you want your kid to read it, be sure he/she is fairly mature and knows a bit about "the birds and the bees." A fairly young child would not understand what is going on. That is not to say there is anything in it that would not be appropriate. I think it is very appropriate. Still, I would want to read this book with my child because it has the potential to open up a lot of questions for discussion.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl United States 02-13-12
    Daryl United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    9
    9
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    Story
    "Unique"

    An imagined glimpse at ordinary life in medieval Europe—a bold endeavor in itself. The story of a girl's struggle for survival and socialization in a society which is largely indifferent, and sometimes harsh, although there are pockets of human warmth and hope.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bethann milwaukee, WI, United States 04-15-12
    bethann milwaukee, WI, United States 04-15-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    83
    14
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    "not just for kids"
    What did you like best about The Midwife's Apprentice? What did you like least?

    liked most -- the refreshing perspective of one that has had a rough life, but doesn't wallow in "poor me";it was worth price.

    liked least -- almost fell over dead when the recording started, with the "audible kids"
    screeching out - startling everyone in the room! didn't realize it was intended for kids.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    frankly, i don't remember the ending - now that's sad.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    it was ok, take it or leave it.


    Was The Midwife's Apprentice worth the listening time?

    yep, and the price was good too.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ANG 08-27-14
    ANG 08-27-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not for young teens"
    What would have made The Midwife's Apprentice better?

    If you are getting this book for a young teen to read I would not recommend it. As it has adult content that is not appropriate in my opinion.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Karen Cushman again?

    not sure


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jenny Sterlin’s performances?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Midwife's Apprentice?

    The chapter the Millers Wife. This is where we stopped listening to the story as it wasn't suitable for my young teen


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula COTTRELLVILLE, MI, United States 12-10-12
    Paula COTTRELLVILLE, MI, United States 12-10-12 Member Since 2010

    Avid reader and listener, of both fiction on non-fiction. I especially love history, adventure, and creative, clever and unusual characters!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Wise in the end"

    If you are looking for adventure, romance or great historical detail, you will probably not find them here. There is not even that much dialogue. BUT--those are not the only attributes of a good story, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this in the end. What this story does very well is give an intimate view of the gritty side of life from the perspective of an underprivileged girl (well, homeless vagrant, really) who gets plucked from her warm dungpile and is thrust into the role of apprentice to a very stern, cold and critical midwife. I found myself pitying the situation of the apprentice, even while the character herself is grateful for this unexpected boon in her life--regular meals and a clean place to sleep. The crushing comments of the midwife seem purposely cruel, and the apprentice's self-esteem is just about non-existent. The events of the book seem almost depressing--until the very end, and then the wisdom of the midwife and her methods slaps you in the face, leaving you with a greater appreciation for the characters, and for the historical perspective through which this story is told.
    If you liked stories like "The Girl With the Pearl Earring," you will probably enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark E. Young Oralndo, FL 09-04-12
    Mark E. Young Oralndo, FL 09-04-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    210
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    "A book about a young girl in the middle ages"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book accurately portrayed the poverty and suffering. It was not a very happy book overall.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Sort of a surprise ending but I liked how it concluded.


    What does Jenny Sterlin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Not sure


    Was The Midwife's Apprentice worth the listening time?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Stockton, IL, United States 08-09-12
    Carol Stockton, IL, United States 08-09-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "A good listen"
    Would you listen to The Midwife's Apprentice again? Why?

    I might listen again, but will need to wait sometime before I make up my mind.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked to girl's examination of herself & her place in society.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marg Southern California 06-17-12
    Marg Southern California 06-17-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    116
    10
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    0
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    "short but enjoyable"
    Any additional comments?

    Short but it was just what I wanted on this hot day. Period piece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lenora La Crescenta, CA, United States 05-23-12
    Lenora La Crescenta, CA, United States 05-23-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    109
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting insight into another way of life"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    longer would have been good


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Midwife's Apprentice?

    her gaining self confidence


    Did Jenny Sterlin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    yes


    Do you think The Midwife's Apprentice needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    yes I liked going back in time. getting into the old lifestyles


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marsha Moses 05-23-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Great Read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Midwife's Apprentice the most enjoyable?

    Karen Cushman absolutely captures the awakening of a child from sleeping in a dung heap to discovering that she can do things and make decisions about what she wants to do. I loved the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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