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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Two books by Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman won the Newbery award for her The Midwife's Apprentice, and she deserved the award. I recently read this book, and her The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, and found them splendid works.

Both books are written about girls growing up, and begin when their protagonists are in their early teens, or a little earlier. Midwife's Apprentice is about a homeless girl who becomes a midwife's apprentice, sometime in the Middle Ages. Lucy Whipple is about a girl with a mother and siblings (but who has lost her father) in a small California town during gold rush days.

Cushman does her historical homework. These books are full of the gritty details of living under the circumstances described, without very much of the world's goods, and often not knowing where your next meal might come from. However, both are optimistic, and Lucy Whipple, especially, can be hilarious.

There is some acknowledgment of God and Christianity, not as much in Midwife's Apprentice, but more in Lucy Whipple, and there is a major character who is a believing preacher. He has flaws, but is clearly a sympathetic character. I plan to read more of Cushman's works.

Thanks for reading.

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