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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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    11
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Daryl
  • United States
  • 02-13-12

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

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • bethann
  • milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 04-15-12

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

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A simple story. Worth reading.

What made the experience of listening to The Midwife's Apprentice the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the story of the girl and her experiences.

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

When she succeeded in delivering a baby by herself.

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

I was able to listen to this book in different pieces. I definitely did not want to just leave it unfinished.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Charming. Endearing.

The narrator really conveys the moodiness of the village scenes and depth of Alice's character. There is both sadness and triumph in this story.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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

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  • Carol
  • Stockton, IL, United States
  • 08-09-12

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

short but enjoyable

Any additional comments?

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

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  • Lenora
  • La Crescenta, CA, United States
  • 05-23-12

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