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Children's LiteratureHere is a short, colorful look at aspects of life on a Medieval manor. A two-page spread showing the buildings, fields, and stream that made up a typical manor sets the scene. Then the book looks at the lives of peasants including their homes, their food and their work that was controlled by the cycle of the seasons. Also on the manor were trades people who made and sold necessary items. That segment includes an interesting sidebar on surnames related to Medieval trades. The segment on women and children describes their usual tasks, their typical clothing, and their recreation. Of course, there is a look at the role of the lord of the manor and his assistants, the steward, bailiff, and reeve, who helped him run the manor. The description of activities of the manor court that settled disputes and determined punishments, includes a list of some of the fines levied for various crimes. Some fines were quite heavy—six days pay was the fine for pretending to be sick. The role of the church is examined along with celebrations which often were church related. Finally the difficulties peasants faced that led to peasants' rebellions along with the growth of towns are considered. Printed on simulated parchment paper, the book contains many colorful illustrations from Medieval sources, complemented by contemporary illustrations. The 32-page book includes a map, a time line, a glossary, and an index. 2005, Crabtree Publishing Company, and Ages 7 to 14.
—Janet Crane Barley