Monday, November 19, 2018

THE BOOK OF BOY by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch



The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch (February, 2018, Greenwillow, 288 pages, for ages 8 to 12)

Synopsis (from the book jacket):  What a fine story this is!
                                                         For who does not want to read
                                                                about such things?
                                                          A boy who can talk to animals.
                                                          A terrifying, perilous journey
                                                                full of bravery and daring.
                                                           Knights and bandits and
                                                                ghosts and thieves.
                                                           Howling wolves, heroic
                                                                donkeys, and a bag of bones.
                                                           Lords, ladies, liars, and
                                                                 riches beyond compare.
                                                           And mysteries and miracles--
                                                                  of the sort that concern
                                                                  the living and the dead.

Why I recommend it:   The voice is superbBoy himself tells the tale in first person. Masterful writing, a compelling plot, and intriguing characters (especially Boy and Secundus, a mysterious pilgrim who hires hunchbacked Boy to carry his pack on a pilgrimage) make this a novel you MUST read. Plus, the research is most impressive and the book jacket and chapter headings are beautifully designed.

I was still hospitalized when this book came out in February, so I completely missed it, but thankfully, the publisher recently sent me a copy, in exchange for an honest review. Set in 1350 Europe, this is a compelling, funny, earthy and yet religious tale, reminiscent of Chaucer, though with a touch of magical realism. I had no trouble divining the mystery of who Boy really is, but I'm sure an 8 or 9 year old would be kept guessing.

Favorite lines: Last night's conversation flooded my mind. I carried a rib of Saint Peter, the first pope of Rome--me, a humble goatherd!  (from p. 28)

Catherine Gilbert Murdoch's website

Have you read The Book of Boy?  What did you think?



13 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one yet but have it high on my future reads list based on your review. It has all the elements of a great story. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. The blurb makes it sounds really good. Glad you liked it so much.

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  3. I love that period in history. I hadn't heard of this book, but I will be looking for it. Thanks for telling me about it.

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  4. This sounds like a gem. I know that I will look for it. I really enjoyed your review and what you shared. Do you think teens would be caught up in the story. Great way to learn some history.

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  5. Not sure if teens would get caught up in it, possibly younger teens. But I was certainly caught up in (even though I guessed the mystery), so who knows, Pat?

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  6. I haven't heard of this one before. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Definitely sounds interesting. :)
    ~Jess

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  7. I LOVED this book. Thanks for reviewing it!

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  8. I didn't buy this one because I can't see any of my students reading it. I bought the Gidwitz medieval title, and it's just gathering dust!

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    1. That's a shame, Karen. Sorry I didn't notice this comment until now. The Book of Boy has since won a Newbery Honor award. Did that make a difference in students wanting to read it? Or is the Newbery really only something an adult cares about as we used to say in the bookstore?

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