Monday, February 16, 2015

Newbery Review: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz (2008 Medal Winner)

            I am not one for poetry, as a rule, much less short stories set to verse with rather didactic tones. However, I decided to look over these things in light that Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is meant to be more educational and interactive than some of its fellow Newbery winners.
            The book is thin, with colorful illustrations, and contains a set of short story poems, each from a different character’s point of view. Each character is a child with a position in the divided caste system of Medieval Europe, such as a blacksmith’s son, a lord’s daughter, a pretend beggar, etc. The intention is for the verses either to be read aloud, or to be performed by a class. That being the case, it’s hard for me to judge it as a reader, who was expecting something a little less interactive. I can see its value, though, as a teaching tool for young primary students. As a second and third grader, this is the sort of thing I would have loved to do.
            Otherwise, this book doesn’t leave much of an impression simply as a read. It may make you smile or laugh a few times, but where its true potential lies is in the hands of a room full of imaginative kids.

Recommended age: all ages
Content level for parents: a doctor’s apprentice elaborates on his master’s gory job

For more Marvelous Middle Grade reviews, go to Shannon's post here


  1. I read this a few years ago. I remember that it was a little TMI for me on some of the gross/gory parts. But my son, who loves the middle ages, really enjoyed it.

  2. I had heard of this one but never got my hands on a copy. Doesn't sound like its for everybody, but I'll be giving in a try with your recommendation.

  3. I have this book in my bookshelf and never seem to get to it. Thanks for the reminder.