Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Voices from a Medieval Village
by Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Robert Byrd
Most appreciated by 3rd graders on up

With the Boar's Head Festival coming up this weekend, this is a great time to take a look at this neat book. The author, librarian Amy Schlitz, wrote the book in response to a request from students for plays they could perform. Realizing the difficulty of finding a play with equal parts for 19 students, Ms. Schlitz took matters into her own hands and wrote one.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is made up of 22 narratives from young people living in an English village in 1255. The voices are those of kids ranging in age from 10 to 15. Most know each other because they all live in or around the manor of a noble lord. Some are poor, some are not. You'll meet a singing shepherdess who's voice saves a life, a falconer's son who wants to keep his beloved bird away from it's true owner. There's the lord's daughter who walks through town and doesn't understand when villagers throw mud at her. Isn't it God's will that she be who she is, a daughter of the nobility?

Mixed in with each villager's story are facts about life in the Middle Ages. But don't worry - you won't find the facts. They're worked into each story so well, you won't realize you're reading history.

So when the Boar's Head is over, and you'd like to go back to visit the manor house, pick up this book and grab some friends. Have fun reading the stories out loud. Go ahead and make believe you're a pilgrim on a religious journey or you've just outsmarted the lord and kept your family's prized cow. Who wants to be Nellie the sniggler? (See, better read this book to find out what a sniggler is!).

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