Crispin: At the Edge of the World (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)


The more I came to know of the world, the more I knew I knew it not.

He was a nameless orphan, marked for death by his masters for an unknown crime. Discovering his name -- Crispin -- only intensified the mystery. Then Crispin met Bear, who helped him learn the secret of his full identity. And in Bear -- the enormous, red-bearded juggler, sometime spy, and everyday philosopher -- Crispin also found a new father and a new world.

Now Crispin and ...

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The more I came to know of the world, the more I knew I knew it not.

He was a nameless orphan, marked for death by his masters for an unknown crime. Discovering his name -- Crispin -- only intensified the mystery. Then Crispin met Bear, who helped him learn the secret of his full identity. And in Bear -- the enormous, red-bearded juggler, sometime spy, and everyday philosopher -- Crispin also found a new father and a new world.

Now Crispin and Bear have set off to live their lives as free men. But they don’t get far before their past catches up with them: Bear is being pursued by members of the secret brotherhood who believe he is an informer. When Bear is badly wounded, it is up to Crispin to make decisions about their future -- where to go, whom to trust. Along the way they become entangled with an extraordinary range of people, each of whom affects Crispin and Bear’s journey in unexpected ways. To find freedom and safety, they may have to travel to the edge of the world -- even if it means confronting death itself.

In this riveting sequel to the Newbery-Award winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead -- the second book in a planned trilogy -- Avi explores themes of war, religion, and family as he continues the adventures of Crispin and Bear.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
After a three-year disappearance, Avi's Newbery Award-winning Crispin is back. In this lynchpin trilogy volume, Crispin and Bear, his red-bearded juggler companion, continue to battle adversity and discover the meaning of friendship.
From The Critics
A secret brotherhood pursues Crispin, a 14th-century English orphan, and his friend, Bear, who is falsely accused of being an informant. Thus begins a perilous, riveting journey across land and sea that pushes Crispin toward both manhood and a more nuanced view of the world. A sequel to the award-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead, this robust adventure story also challenges kids to look below the surface of things. When friends are not what they seem and disreputable strangers prove to be honorable, Crispin muses poetically: "How hard it was for me to discern when evil clothed itself in goodness, or when there might be a kernel of goodness within the chaff of evil." (Ages 8 to 12)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Publishers Weekly
Crispin: At the Edge of the World by Avi continues the adventures of the hero begun with Crispin: The Cross of Lead (in a starred review, PW wrote, "It's the compellingly drawn relationship between Crispin and Bear that provides the heart of this story"). Just when the duo feels free, events from the past overshadow the pair, and Bear becomes seriously injured, leaving Crispin in charge of both their futures. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Avi won the Newbery Award for the first book in the projected trilogy, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. This second volume continues the story and promises a sequel that will complete the adventure. Here Crispin and Bear are making their way in England during a time of great political and social unrest in the 14th century; they earn a few pennies with Bear playing the fool and dancing to Crispin's music. Bear is injured and the two are saved by the healing skills of an old crone and a young girl with a harelip who assists her. When the old woman dies, Troth, the girl, becomes their traveling companion: Bear passes them off as his children. The three make their way to the south of England, to the port city of Rye, where a boat and numerous adventures lead them away--perhaps to the edge of the world as they know it. Avi gets the time and place just right, taking the reader with him with the sometimes-archaic language and beliefs (e.g., "God's mercy, woman...She's devil-marked. She'll bring peril to my wife. I beg you! In the name of Jesus, don't argue!"). The dangers the three main characters face and their acts of courage and loyalty to one another are constant, keeping the reader's interest always. A must purchase. (Sequel to Crispin: The Cross of Lead.). KLIATT Codes: J*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2006, Hyperion, 234p., $16.99.. Ages 12 to 15.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
At last, Crispin helps Bear escape from the evil clutches of one enemy only to run right into another one. Now, the second tale in the series about Crispin begins where the two must elude John Ball's brotherhood, of which Bear was once a spy. With no friends in sight, Bear and Crispin reach deep inside their friendship to find a way to the freedom they both crave. Along the trail, Bear uses his brawn to keep the two alive until injury leaves them alone in an unknown place where they must trust a young disfigured girl, Troth, and her guardian. Still the fates send even more trouble as the old guardian dies a violent death, leaving Troth in their keep. Although tragedy strikes at every corner, the three comrades use their wits and talents to survive this ordeal that leads to a variety of freedoms for our heroes. Be ready for many twists and turns as you travel their path. The ending will leave you breathless. Avi takes the reader on another exciting adventure into the world of Old England. The charm of the scenery and the loveable characters make this book a must read. Do not hold back on cheering on Bear and Crispin as they struggle to survive in a world that they do not seem to belong to. What an awesome storyteller Avi has become, and may he honor us with more of Crispin's quests.
VOYA - Laura Woodruff
Sequel to award-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Hyperion, 2002/VOYA June 2002), this second of a trilogy continues the adventures of the courageous orphan. Set in England in 1377, the story begins as fugitives Crispin and Bear, having escaped from prison in Great Wexly, head for the coast. Bear, a juggler who was arrested for membership in John Ball's rebel brotherhood, now flees his own comrades who believe that he revealed their names and endangered their lives. One of them wounds Bear, but by chance, he is found and nursed back to health by an ancient midwife, Aude, and her disfigured daughter, Troth. Later Aude is blamed for an unsuccessful birth and is murdered, leading Bear, Crispin, and Troth to declare themselves a "family." The three eventually board a "cog," or small merchant ship headed for Flanders, but as bad luck would have it, they wind up shipwrecked and starving on the coast of Brittany instead. Blending simple language, action-packed plot, and strong characterization, Avi manages to convey a good deal of accurate historical information. Appropriate for ages ten and up, the novel could also entertain advanced younger readers. This thrilling page-turner has an open-ended conclusion that will leave youngsters hungering for the third book.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-At the conclusion of Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Hyperion, 2002), Crispin and Bear have escaped and are enjoying their hard-won freedom, planning to resume their 14th-century lifestyle as traveling minstrels and jugglers. But that freedom doesn't last long because they soon find themselves hunted again by men who believe Bear to be a traitor to the Brotherhood (which is planning a revolt against the oppressive rulers of England). And, with Bear severely injured, Crispin has to make crucial decisions about their future, which for Bear means confronting the sins of the past. The thoughtful introduction of Troth, a disfigured girl, and the trio's fearful journey across the Channel add historical relevance and bring home a critical lesson in tolerance. This second book in a planned trilogy explores even more thoughtfully the themes of religion, war, the motives of men, and the meaning of family. This is an extraordinary work of lyrical simplicity, nearly flawless in its execution, and a haunting tale of love and loss. Readers will devour this story and eagerly anticipate the conclusion of Crispin's adventures.-Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An orphan boy continues searching for freedom amid the social and political chaos of 14th-century England in this swiftly paced sequel to Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2004). After discovering his true identity, Crispin and his fierce, but genial, protector Bear seek refuge in the countryside. Pursued as an informer by members of a secret brotherhood, Bear is wounded. Alone and desperate, Crispin is forced to trust an ancient healer and her disfigured young companion Troth. Bear survives, but is greatly diminished. Crispin, Bear and Troth journey to Rye, a coastal city pillaged by the French. But with the brotherhood still tracking Bear, they must flee again, this time aboard a seafaring cog to Brittany. As the tightly bonded trio faces life-threatening events, Crispin "must think and act as a man" to protect those he loves and preserve the freedom he and Bear cherish. This moving, history-packed adventure leaves Crispin on the edge of the world and readers on the edge of their seats. Super storytelling. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606124829
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Series: Crispin Series , #2
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 234
  • Sales rank: 501,339
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Known for his unconventional vision and quirky creative style, Avi has penned scores of children's books that young readers devour with a passion. Twice awarded the Newbery Honor medal for his work, this prolific Pied Piper won the 2003 Newbery Medal for Crispin: The Cross of Lead -- an action-packed adventure set in 14th-century England.


Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

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