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Catherine, Called Birdy (2004)

Catherine, Called Birdy (2004)
Author
Rating
3.69 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0060739428 (ISBN13: 9780060739423)
languge
English
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publisher
harpertrophy
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Catherine, Called Birdy (2004)
Catherine, Called Birdy (2004)

About book: This is one of my favorite books. It's an easy read, with some light humor and an interesting story. Plus, it has a bonus of the Newbery Honor Award and some medieval history.Catherine, the 14-year-old daughter of Sir Rollo, is a wonderful character, and I admire her vivacity and spirit. Her funny, satirical view of things is something I can relate to. However, the way she views herself, and all her favors and faults, rubs me the wrong way. She is incredibly pessimistic about herself, and is very hard on her faults. A good example is when she's describing her friends and family as birds:'I think my mother is like a swan. My brother Robert is a rooster, strutting here and there, crowing about himself. Edward is a heron, with his long nose and long legs. Clever Perkin is a falcon, and my nurse Morwenna is a nuthatch, busy and brown and dumpy. My father of course is a buzzard, slow and stupid, the Devil take him. I thin Aelis is a dove on the outside and a hawk within.'Then she describes herself:'I think I love geese more than any other birds because no one else does. They are not small and delicate like larks and sparrows, or swift and clever like hawks and falcons. They do not sing like nightingales and cannot be trained to talk or dance or do tricks. They are cunning, greedy, shortsighted, and stubborn - much like me, now that I think on it.' Now, a teenage girl, be it in the 13th century or the 21st century, hopefully doesn't think about herself like this. We all have some talent that we are proud of, some quality that redeems us from all our faults. But we never really hear of hers here. True, she is clever at pranks, and she does read and write, so she does have some intelligence. She just doesn't seem to be proud of herself in any way. Maybe I just read it the wrong way. But it seems to me that Catherine's character is really unrealistic sometimes. However, it's still a good story, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

Throw away your history textbooks! Well, don't really, but this book is an awesome way to supplement your learning of this period of time--1290, England. It's got one of the spunkiest heroines I've ever encountered in a book. It's funny, it's suspenseful, it's gross (in an informative kind of way!). Catherine, or Birdy, as her family calls her, is a feisty 14-year-old. She doesn't want to do anything a girl her age is supposed to do--spinning, embroidering, and learning to act like a lady. Her mother strikes a deal with her. Birdy can forgo spinning as long as she writes an account of family life for her brother, Edward. Lucky us--we get to read it too. Birdy's entries are funny, sly, and observant. When she sees the young people of the village returning from gathering willow branches for Palm Sunday with more greenery stuck in their hair and clothes than in their baskets, she predicts a large crop of babies next Christmas! She writes of her disgust at a public hanging, about her meals and village festivals, her friends and enemies, and her constant battle against fleas and her father's attempts to marry her off to the highest bidder. Despite the humor, Cushman doesn't shy away from the unsavory aspects of 1290. The perpetrators being hanged are only 12 years old. Birdy's brother, Robert, impregnates a 12-year-old, who then dies in childbirth. I must mention how compelling the plot was. I anxiously awaited finding out if Birdy would be forced to marry the distasteful Shaggy Beard. And I thought I had guessed what the ending would be, but I was wrong. Cushman cleverly gives the story a twist at the end which is not "and-they-lived-happily-ever-after" but is certainly hopeful. Highly recommended for young adults and adults!
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Reviews
Sam T
I loved Catherine Called Birdy. This book was so good I just couldn't put it down! I was very happy at the end of the book because she did not have to do something she did not want to do. I felt happiness inside of me because of it! This book takes place in a palace, and a chamber inside the palace. It was surprising how Birdie' s father is making her get married. This book makes us think of how when we are parents not to make our child do something they don't want to do, such as get married. I would recommend this book to kids that like fairy tale, books that could really happen,and journals. This would also be a book for grades 1 through 8 th grade! Trust me you won't be disappointed.
Laura Garding
There were a few times where I was a little bit bored with it. That could have been partly due to the fact that it was written for a much younger audience and some things I am just not interested in that I would have found fascinating when I was a teenager. It was a pretty fun book for the most part though. I was surprised at how much I laughed as I read this book. The main character was quite comical and had a very different personality than I was expecting. She acted very much like I would think a young adult would. She seemed to complain nonstop and was very immature. I think that there are many young adults that could relate to Catherine in the book with the problems she has with her parents and also to all of the stress and drama she creates and has in her life.I’m not sure that I would go out of my way to recommend this book to anyone. If someone asked me about it I would give them good feedback. It was a pleasant book to read with interesting things going on. I felt like the story line was lacking a little bit though. It just kind of started and not much happened to the story throughout the book. I felt like it didn’t have a super strong ending. It could have kept going and told more about her life and her getting married but it just kind of ended.
Devon
Catherine Called Birdy was a witty, charming book to read. Catherine is such a great character because while she is aware that Edward will eventually read her journal, she is hilariously honest in her evaluations of people. She avoids her suitors at all costs, and comes up with all kinds of schemes to drive them away. Catherine is a relatable, down to earth character that feels real, with her devious nature and aversion to growing up, because while most teenagers want to be older and have more control of their lives, they fight against the responsibilities and chores that accompany growing up. The author is able to creatively tell a story through the use of Catherine’s diary entries and able to keep the reader fully engaged throughout the entire book. While there is not really a plot and the entries are scattered, it is a very accurate opinion of many girls' journals, which is one of the reasons the book is so much fun. This book could very accurately be labeled as a "girl book," but it is quirky and interesting enough that boys would find it amusing as well.
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