Matilda Bone

Matilda Bone

by Karen Cushman

Narrated by Janet McTeer

Unabridged — 4 hours, 2 minutes

Matilda Bone

Matilda Bone

by Karen Cushman

Narrated by Janet McTeer

Unabridged — 4 hours, 2 minutes

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Orphaned Matilda is not at all pleased when she arrives at Blood and Bone Alley to become an assistant to Red Peg the Bonesetter. She is a religious, well-educated girl who can't picture herself doing dirty chores or helping sickly patients.

Each day is very different from her former quiet life. Matilda's not used to being around so many people who are coming and going, laughing and eating. Not one of them seems interested in prayer or study.

Self-centered Matilda thinks no one understands her. But Peg does, and gives her time to get used to this new way of life and teaches her through kindness and friendship. Matilda is as surprised as anyone when she begins seeing the world around her in a different way.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

Fans of Cushman's previous medieval novels (Catherine, Called Birdy; The Midwife's Apprentice) may be disappointed with this historical adventure set in "Blood and Bone Alley" in the town of Chipping Bagthorpe. Unlike Catherine and Brat, heroines whose combination of rebelliousness and resourcefulness made them instantly likeable, 13-year-old Matilda is less winning than her supporting cast. The daughter of a wealthy lord's clerk and a mother who fled soon after her birth, Matilda finds herself orphaned when her father dies. As the novel opens, her self-appointed guardian, Father Leufredus, has just dropped her off at the meager lodgings of Red Peg the Bonesetter to learn Peg's trade. Fresh from the intolerant Father's tutelage, Matilda, in her zealous piety, snubs Peg and inadvertently thwarts the woman's work: more than once, while lost in prayer, the girl ruins a salve or a simple meal of porridge. Thus readers don't get the same insider's view of the bonesetter's apprenticeship that they saw of midwifery through Brat's eyes. The promise of a potential villain, Master Theobold, "the leading physick" who prizes money over healing, is never realized; the development of Matilda's friendship with another girl takes place mostly offstage; and, strangely, there are two denouements, in which Matilda makes the same realization that she has been wrong about Peg (one involving an ailing stranger whom she is treating, the other the apothecary's apprentice). Fiery Peg, her witty husband and her circle of friends will be the characters readers remember. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Publishers Weekly

Orphaned 13-year-old Matilda becomes apprenticed to Peg, a bonesetter in medieval times. "Matilda is less winning than her supporting cast. Fiery Peg, her witty husband and her circle of friends will be the characters readers remember," wrote PW. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-8-In this unabridged reading of Karen Cushman's novel (Clarion, 2000), actress Janet McTeer provides a splendid voice for Matilda, the medieval orphan girl who arrives as an apprentice to Peg the Bonesetter on Blood and Bone Alley. Matilda has been brought up by Fr. Leufredus in a manor house where her late father had been clerk, and she is horrified that she is now expected to perform such tasks as cleaning, shopping, and tending the fire. Matilda's pride at being able to read and write, and her initial disdain of Peg, Peg's husband Tom, Margery the physician, and the other humble denizens of the area is palpable. Matilda's Latin oaths ("Saliva mucusque!" or "spit and slime") and her mental conversations with the saints provide humor, and her growth in self-knowledge as well as her friendships with both young and old in her new community keep listeners sympathetic. The tape includes Cushman's afterward on medieval medicine, read by the author, which lends an air of authority and intimacy to the recording.-Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, Morgan Hill, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

In a carefully researched novel set in the medieval period, the author of Daniels, Teri G-REX Illus. by Tracey Campbell Pearson Orchard (32 pp.) Sep. 2000 A little brother gets a chance to be as teasing and bullyish as his big brother in this bit of purposeless wish-fulfillment. Gregory's older brother Mark gets all the cool stuff—and he's not above grinding Gregory's face in it, literally. One evening at dinner, Gregory's clueless parents urge him to eat up to be as big as Mark. But Gregory wants to be bigger and, lo, as he tears into his steak he morphs into a monstrous G-Rex—a T-Rex of the Gregory persuasion. He starts to intimidate and threaten his family:"MORE MEAT!" He roars."Get more meat or I eat Mark!" So they frantically set about stuffing"G-Rex" with meat. When he is sated, he commences to bully Mark: over the TV; which beds will be slept in; who will shoot the basketball. When his family finally flees next door, G-Rex gets bored, has a little fit, and transforms back into Gregory. Even though he has broken Mark's best basketball trophy during his tantrum, the boys work out their anger and proceed to have a great time at basketball. If retribution isn't the answer, as seems to be suggested here, then what does inspire the boys to suddenly become chummy, a situation that feels utterly unconvincing because there are no previous referents? The story isn't messy like life, it is just aimless, and Pearson's artwork is too frail a scaffolding to give this shapeless narrative any structure. (Picture book. 5-8)

From the Publisher

"This humorous, frank look at life in the medical quarters in medieval times shows readers that love and compassion, laughter and companionship, are indeed the best medicine." School Library Journal, Starred

The "fascinating information [in the afterword] is just as interesting as Matilda's tale." Horn Book

Editor's Pick. Highly Recommended. "It has become my favorite Cushman book." Book Report

"The plight of thirteen-year-old Matilda will capture readers' imaginations and hearts." VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

"Reader's who've appreciated Cushman's medieval visions will want to travel back with her again here." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books —

Product Details

BN ID: 2940169383485
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 11/24/2009
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 1,182,204
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years
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