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Publisher's Summary

Karen Cushman's Newbery Honor-winning book tells the story of a medieval girl who works to avoid the marriage her father has arranged for her during her 14th year.

Contained in this program is Catherine's diary - Catherine, called Little Bird or Birdy, daughter of Rollo and the lady Aislinn, sister to Thomas, Edward, and the abominable Robert.

'Begun this 12th day of September in the year of Our Lord 1290... I am commanded to write an account of my days. I am bit by fleas and plagued by family... Tangled my spinning again. Corpus bones, what a torture... Spent two hours embroidering a cloth for the church and three hours picking out the stitches after my mother saw it... Picked off twenty-nine fleas today.'

Catherine's mother wants to teach her the skills of the lady of the manor and to prepare her to be a gentle and patient wife. Her father wants only to see her married off, and profitably. Catherine fancies herself a painter, a Crusader, a maker of songs, a peddler, a minstrel, a monk, a wart charmer... Of all the possibilities, she has ruled out only one: being sold like cheese to the highest bidder.

Against a vivid backdrop of everyday life on a medieval English manor, Catherine's earthy, spirited account of her 14th year is a richly entertaining story with an utterly unforgettable heroine.

©1994 Karen Cushman (P)2000 Listening Library

What listeners say about Catherine Called Birdy

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Witty and Delightful

My daughter and I enjoyed this immensely. This is historical fiction at its finest. Would listen to again.

1 person found this helpful

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Strange performance

Overall this is a great story with a promising message. Some of the language and themes are a bit advanced but we enjoyed it. one challenge we had is the version of the book we used did not match the audiobook completely. We had to pause the recording to fill in the parts it skipped.

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Happy to have found this version!

I was torn at first when I saw that there were 2 versions of this audio reading. I read this book many years ago and just wanted to listen to it while working on a long hand sewing project...I thought it would be fitting (it was- grin) ...but I was concerned that this shorter version was not going to be as satisfying as the longer version I saw available. The big determining factor was the voice actor reading this version sounded so much more like young girl, it turned out to be just perfect. She was an absolut delight to listen to! As well I feel that while shortened, it still had perfect flow and continuity !

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Narrator was really good..

I was reading along from the book version on archive.org and it must be a newer version because the one i found online to read along with at times has many more parts, this version has a lot cut out. The narrator fits her personality very perfectly though, I like her much more than the other. This is my preference. She has a much younger voice and it suits her, and she gets the tone well too.

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Catherine Called Birdy

I really enjoyed listening to this book and learning about all the saints for each day of the calendar year.

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so fun

this book is so fun and so interesting
chatherine is a brave girl I think

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  • Jacqueline
  • 02-12-21

An enjoyable listen

I have loved this book ever since I was a child! the narrator's performance was excellent, but I didn't realise this was abridged - it's a shame the part about Catherine going to the hanging was cut out. I also thought the music was a bit too distracting and unnecessary. Overall the story is still excellent though, and that's what shines through the most!