by Karen Cushman. (Clarion,1995 ISBN 0 395 69229 6) Novel. 122 pages. Grades 5+.
This book was first reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
Cushman has a talent for writing small pithy novels. As she did in Birdy, in this Newbery Award winner within a few pages she propels us into the life of a girl living in the middle ages, makes us like and understand her, shows us a lot about the times and a little bit about ourselves. Birdy was the daughter of a minor baron and, through her, we had glimpses of the life of the higher classes in medieval times. Alyce is an insignificant, nameless child sleeping in a dung heap when we first meet her. We know her first as Brat. She is usually ignored and sometimes taunted by the other people in the village. Her progress from a Brat working for scraps of food to Alyce, the Midwife's apprentice, is painful and thought-provoking. By the end of these well-wrought pages, we know Alyce and accept her small steps toward a better life.
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In Times Past
by Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis
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