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Catherine, Called Birdy
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Grade 6-9-This unusual book provides an insider's look at the life of Birdy, 14, the daughter of a minor English nobleman. The year is 1290 and the vehicle for storytelling is the girl's witty, irreverent diary. She looks with a clear and critical eye upon the world around her, telling of the people she knows and of the daily events in her small manor house. Much of Birdy's energy is consumed by avoiding the various suitors her father chooses for her to marry. She sends them all packing with assorted ruses until she is almost wed to an older, unattractive man she refers to as Shaggy Beard. In the process of telling the routines of her young life, Birdy lays before readers a feast of details about mediaeval England. The book is rich with information about the food, dress, religious beliefs, manners, health, medical practises, and sanitary habits (or lack thereof) of the people of her day. From the number of fleas she kills in an evening to her herbal medicines laced with urine, Birdy reveals fascinating facts about her time period. A feminist far ahead of her time, she is both believable and lovable. A somewhat philosophical afterword discusses the mind set of mediaeval people and concludes with a list of books to consult for further information about the period. Superb historical fiction.
Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"This unusual book provides an insider's look at the life of Birdy, 14, the daughter of a minor English nobleman. The year is 1290 and the vehicle for storytelling is the girl's witty, irreverent diary. . . . Superb historical fiction." --School Library Journal, Starred "The period has rarely been presented for young people with such authenticity; the exotic details will intrigue readers while they relate more closely to Birdy's yen for independence and her sensibilities toward the downtrodden. Her tenacity and ebullient naivet� are extraordinary; at once comic and thought-provoking, this first novel is a delight." --Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

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