Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Cushman, Karen
New York : Clarion Books, 1994.
IL YA RL 6.7 .
ISBN 0395681863 
(2 booktalks)
Booktalk #1

The year is 1290 and 14 year old Catherine begins her diary "I am bit by fleas and plagues by family. That is all there is to say." Catherine does indeed have more to say. Her diary becomes her confidant through which we witness life in Middle Ages. Catherine loves birds and everyone calls her Birdy. Birdy's father is determined to find a rich husband for her but Birdy is determined never to marry. Follow Birdy as she enjoys life and avoids suitors.

Booktalk #2

"Dear Diary--24th day of September--The stars and my family align to make my life black and miserable. My mother seeks to make me a fine lady--dumb, docile and accomplished--so I must take lady-lessons and keep my mouth closed. My father, the toad, conspires to sell me like cheese to some lack-wit seeking a wife. What makes this coldpole suitor anxious to have me? I am no beauty, being sun-browned and gray-eyed, with poor eyesight and a stubborn disposition. Corpus bones! He comes to dine with us in two days' time. I plan to cross my eyes and drool in my meat." (p. 5-6)  And so are the trials in the life of Catherine. In England in the year 1290, her father wants her to be a lady so she can be married off to a suitable man. But Catherine, also called Birdy, wants to be free. She hates hemming sheets and being proper. She'd rather run in the fields with the goat boy and be educated and choose her own husband instead of being lady-like all the time. So she schemes to avoid the suitors her father picks out for her, thinks of ways to torture her brother and escape her chores, and dreams of a life where she can act as she likes. ** Catherine's diary documents the trials of her life, and although they take place long ago and far away, young readers can relate to her feelings and laugh at her schemes to make her life more interesting.
(Linda Wolfgram,, Middle/High School Media Specialist, Benton Community Schools, Van Horne, IA)

SUBJECTS:     Middle Ages -- Fiction
                        Diaries -- Fiction
                        England -- Fiction


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