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Crossing To Paradise

Crossing To Paradise

3.6 5
by Kevin Crossley-Holland

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Gatty is a field girl on a manor. She has never seen busy London or the bright Channel, the snowy Alps of France or the boats in the Venetian sea. She has not sung in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem or prayed at the manger in Bethlehem -- or been kidnapped, or abandoned, or kissed, or heartbroken. But all these things will change. As Gatty journeys with Lady Gwyneth


Gatty is a field girl on a manor. She has never seen busy London or the bright Channel, the snowy Alps of France or the boats in the Venetian sea. She has not sung in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem or prayed at the manger in Bethlehem -- or been kidnapped, or abandoned, or kissed, or heartbroken. But all these things will change. As Gatty journeys with Lady Gwyneth and a prickly new family of pilgrims across Europe to the Holy Land, Kevin Crossley-Holland reveals a medieval world as rich and compelling as the world of today it foresees -- and, in Gatty, a character readers will never forget.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Cathi I. White
Gatty is a naive fifteen-year-old girl who has lived a secluded life. However, through an unexpected series of events, she becomes a chamber servant to Lady Gwyneth. Her mistress and a group of people seek to take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. As a result, Gatty's adventures begin. The book is as exciting as a movie of the week! The reader will have difficulty putting this very interesting book down as Gatty and her friends experience adventures they would not have even dreamed. Who would have thought that a girl who started out in a small, secluded village would run after thieves, experience kidnapping, encounter evil men, and be face-to-face with death. With the threat of not being able to complete her pilgrimage, Gatty proves she is strong-willed and determined. Through these adventurous episodes and others, Gatty learns to love and trust others, even as she learns more about herself. This book is set in the Middle Ages, and readers will be completely drawn into the story as each chapter is read and the plot unfolds. This intriguing book would be a tremendous choice for an English class to read. Reviewer: Cathi I. White
VOYA - Arlene Allen
In this companion novel to Crossley-Holland's Arthur Trilogy, village girl and object of Arthur's affection Gatty has her own chance at adventure. She is sent to be a lady's maid to Lady Gwyneth. Having been a field hand her entire life and knowing nothing about how to deal with nobility, Gatty is unsure of what is expected of her or whether she will be able to live up to her mistress's demands. Lady Gwyneth is hiding a secret, however, that will drive her and her motley staff to embark on a perilous journey halfway across the world to the Holy Land. Only Gatty's desire to follow in her beloved Arthur's footsteps and her angelic singing reassures Gatty that she and her fellow pilgrims will survive the journey to Jerusalem and return once more to England. Even though this novel can stand alone, the characters seem to lack depth without familiarity with the preceding trilogy. Readers who have not encountered Gatty before will see her as simpleminded and almost willfully ignorant instead of endearingly innocent and uneducated. Even after learning the fundamentals of reading and writing and having come across brilliant minds from Europe and Africa, Gatty seems no more than a medieval Pollyanna. The pilgrimage itself is action-filled enough to keep a reader turning pages, and several secondary characters are quite compelling. Overall, though, the appeal of the novel will be primarily to established fans of the series. Reviewer: Arlene Allen
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
Within one week I have read two YA novels, written by British writers, about traveling from the British Isles to the Holy Land in medieval times. They are quite different, even as both are starred as exceptional. Spradlin's Keeper of the Grail (review below) is vivid and action-packed—even reluctant readers will find it appealing. Crossley-Holland (author of four books already about Arthur, Merlin, and medieval England) continues his story about the same people and place; this time it's Arthur's friend Gatty's story. Instead of the crusading warriors of the Grail book, this is about a band of pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land for adventure, yes, but also for salvation. Crossley-Holland's story has many levels; it is demanding and, for those who give it time, quite rewarding. Gatty is 15 years old, an orphan who yearns for love, especially Arthur's love, but Arthur is engaged to be married and anyway, he is not around until the very end of this story. So Gatty goes on the pilgrimage, crossing England, getting a boat at Dover to sail to France, and riding horseback through Europe to Venice, where a ship takes her to the Holy Land. She is one of a party of nine pilgrims, led by Lady Gwyneth. On the journey, Gatty learns to read and write, and she trains her pure, sweet singing voice. Tragedies befall the little group. Some never make it to Jerusalem, but Gatty does; and then she journeys home again. As pilgrims say (and they say it to this day): it isn't the destination, it's the journey itself. Crossley-Holland and his band of pilgrims, with effervescent Gatty, tell us much about life's journey. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

Gatty, the irrepressible peasant girl first introduced in Crossley-Holland's "Arthur" trilogy (Scholastic), comes into her own in this sweeping, vibrant story set in the early years of the 13th century. Her pure singing voice helps her secure a position as serving maid to Lady Gwyneth of Ewloe Manor, and she joins a disparate band of souls when her lady declares her intent to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Gatty is a headstrong adolescent whose impulsive behavior both exasperates and delights the other pilgrims on the journey, causing delays and difficulties but also, in one instance, saving a life. Written in a style that is both lyrical and earthy, this book serves as a companion novel to the "Arthur" books but stands solidly on its own as a completely satisfying coming-of-age story. Similar in tone to Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy (Clarion, 1994) and rich in detail like Frances Temple's epic journey tale, The Ramsay Scallop (Scholastic, 1994), Crossing to Paradise gives today's readers a glimpse into the turbulent years of the Crusades-events that sowed so many seeds for the current Middle East conflicts-through the eyes of a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT

Kirkus Reviews
In 1203, Lady Gwyneth sets out on a pilgrimage from Wales to Jerusalem to do penance and save her soul. With her travel eight others, including Gatty, a 15-year-old field hand and beloved character from Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy. Dirty and illiterate, yet bright, wise and spirited, Gatty encounters both dangers and marvels along the way. Robbers, a dealer in severed body parts, storms, assassins and would-be rapists teach Gatty to be alert and responsible. From the stench of London to the wonders of Venice and Jerusalem, Gatty's journey changes her, as she learns to read, write and sing and becomes the one Lady Gwyneth must rely on for the success of the pilgrimage. This classic odyssey, love story and coming-of-age tale is impeccably written, with rich sensory details, memorable characters and a well-orchestrated plot. Certainly, what Gatty learns about the wonders of the world and the possibilities of friendship and even marriage between Christians and Saracens speaks to today's world as well. (glossary, author's note) (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Scholastic, Inc.
File size:
714 KB
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin Crossley-Holland was born in 1941 in Mursley, North Buckinghamshire, and grew up in Whiteleaf, a village in the Chiltern Hills of western England. He attended Oxford University, where, after failing his first exams, he developed his passion for Anglo-Saxon literature. After graduating, he was the Gregory Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds, and from 1972-1977, he lectured in Anglo-Saxon for the Tufts University of London program. He worked as a children’s book editor while beginning to write his own poems and reinterpretations of medieval legends. He has also taught for extended periods in America. He now lives in Norfolk, England.

Kevin Crossley-Holland has published six volumes of adult poetry and several libretti for opera. In the world of children’s books, he is best known for his numerous retellings and anthologies, and in particular his version of Beowolf. Storm, his novella, won the Carnegie Medal in 1985.

The Seeing Stone, published by Scholastic, is his only other work of original fiction. T.H White is the inevitable comparison for Kevin Crossley-Holland’s new novel, American readers will also be reminded of Karen Cushman, for the earthy, rich portrayal of life in a medieval manor. Its sequel, At the Crossing-Places, was published in the United States in fall 2002. The third title in this trilogy is King of the Middle March, which will be published in 2003.

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Crossing to Paradise 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect continuation of the caldicot saga.
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kaitlyn97 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! Even though this book is better for older ages, I think it really depends on if you can comprehend it. I read it and I'm 11, I understoood it perfectly. Anyway, Crossing To Paradaise is a wonderful story with a mix of the Crusades, Christian life and adventure. My favortie characters were Gatty and Lady Gwenyth. I though it was a very weird coincidence that the main character's name is the same last name as me! But my last name is spelled differently. Crossing To Paradaise is great for people who enjoy reading about the Crusades and how life was back then. I wish it had a sequel!!