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
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.
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.
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.
frankly, i don't remember the ending - now that's sad.
it was ok, take it or leave it.
yep, and the price was good too.
Avid reader and listener, of both fiction on non-fiction. I especially love adventure, and creative clever characters!
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.
The book accurately portrayed the poverty and suffering. It was not a very happy book overall.
Sort of a surprise ending but I liked how it concluded.
I might listen again, but will need to wait sometime before I make up my mind.
I liked to girl's examination of herself & her place in society.
longer would have been good
her gaining self confidence
yes I liked going back in time. getting into the old lifestyles
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.
The author and narrator told a story of a young girl who grew into a woman with the progression of gained knowledge. She found herself through her experiences (ex. cleanliness) and was able to bring herself up in social status as she gained more knowledge about midwifery. She used this knowledge to help others but was not so conceited that she didn't realize there was more to learn. On the whole it as a wonderful read.
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