Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Voices from a Medieval Village
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
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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.
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 LEONARDO: 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.
Winner of the 2008 Newbery Medal
"Brilliant in every way." – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A vivid, convincing portrait of medieval adolescence." – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
"Bolstered by lively asides and unobtrusive notes, and illuminated by Byrd's stunningly atmospheric watercolors, [the monologues] bring to life a prototypical English village in 1255." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Schlitz gives teachers a refreshing option for enhancing the study of the European Middle Ages: here are seventeen monologues and two dialogues that collectively create a portrait of life on an English manor in 1255." – The Horn Book