Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (paperback)
by Laura Amy Schlitz
AR Level 5.6, 2 points
This is another Engage New York exemplar text that I promised (myself) I’d read. I ordered all 3 of the poetry books from one of the modules, and this is the main one. I have officially decided I want to teach that poetry unit, which means I need a class set of these books. I really enjoyed this book, even though it was, at times, tough to get through.
This book is was written by a school librarian, so it was written with a specific audience in mind. She tells the stories of several tweens in a medieval English village from first person point of view, and it is all in the form of a poem. Each account can, and perhaps is meant to be, read aloud. I can see a performance of this book happening on an elementary or junior high campus somewhere. The characters are all residents of a particular (but generic) village. We hear from the sons and daughters of a blacksmith, doctor, tanner, sniggler, merchant, etc. We also hear about a lord’s daughter getting her dress ruined by having mud thrown at her, and then the mud slinger’s account. I would teach perspective (and multiple perspectives) while reading this book.
What I liked about this book… well, first of all, I love the 1-2 page background pages so we as readers understand the context better. Some examples of the background needed to understand the book would be the crusades, role of Jews in medieval society, and the significance of falconry. I, personally, haven’t read much from a medieval village, so these background pages really helped me. In addition, there are footnotes. For each account, there are words the reader needs to know in order to understand the poem and role of the character. This book is very user-friendly!
What I didn’t like about this book was that it got a little dry at times. There were some sections I had to read multiple times. It’s not written in Old English, but it also isn’t written in a way we are generally used to reading. However, I cannot think of any other complaints. It was a very honest account of life in a medieval village.
Book 46 of 52