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Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Summary and Reviews

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

Voices from a Medieval Village

by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

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About this book

Book Summary

Step back to an English village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating twenty-two unforgettable characters.

Maidens, monks, and millers’ sons — in these pages, readers will meet them all. There’s Hugo, the lord’s nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant’s daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There’s also mud-slinging Barbary (and her noble victim); Jack, the compassionate half-wit; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and many more. With a deep appreciation for the period and a grand affection for both characters and audience, Laura Amy Schlitz creates twenty-two riveting portraits and linguistic gems equally suited to silent reading or performance. Illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Robert Byrd — inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript, an illuminated poem from thirteenth-century Germany — this witty, historically accurate, and utterly human collection forms an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England.

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Book Awards

  • award image The John Newbery Medal, 2008

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This unusually fine collection of related monologues and dialogues promises to be a rewarding choice for performance or for reading aloud in the classroom." - Booklist.

"The artist does not channel a medieval style; rather, he mutes his palette and angles some lines to hint at the period, but his use of cross-hatching and his mostly realistic renderings specifically welcome a contemporary readership. Ages 10-up." - Publishers Weekly.

"Byrd's colorful pen-and-ink drawingsreflect the style of a thirteenth-century illuminated manuscript, greatly enhancing the reader's experience of this remarkable book." - Children's Literature.

"Schlitz takes the breath away with unabashed excellence in every direction. .... Double-page spreads called "A little background" offer lively information about falconry, The Crusades, pilgrimages and the like. Byrd's watercolor-and-ink pictures add lovely texture and evoke medieval illustration without aping it. Brilliant in every way." - Kirkus Reviews.

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More Information

Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy and A Drowned Maiden's Hair. She wrote the pieces in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! for students at the Park School in Baltimore, where she works as a librarian. She has also worked as a storyteller, a costumer, an actress, and a playwright; her plays for young people have been produced in theaters all over the country. Laura Amy Schlitz lives in Baltimore.

Robert Byrd teaches children s book illustration at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is the author-illustrator of many books, including Leonard: Beautiful Dreamer; Finn Maccoul and His Fearless Wife; and The Hero and the Minotaur. He also illustrated Laura Amy Schlitz s first book for children, The Hero Schliemann, about the life of a nineteenth-century amateur archaeologist. Robert Byrd lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

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