Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Like Jenny, I too have a growing pile of books I've read that are now waiting for me to review. But unlike Jenny, one of them isn't a 1000-page behemoth that at least gives her a good excuse for why she hasn't been able to get to the computer! As it is, I've only got time to do a couple of them here, but I will try to get to the others soon.  The books I've read lately are very different from each other, but have several things in common: Short, require minimal investment, and given to me by my sister-in-law when she was cleaning out her personal library.

(Note to self: When a fellow reader with good taste gives you books from her personal library, remember there's probably a good reason she is getting rid of them.)

The first one I picked up was Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi.  As a Newberry Award winner it most piqued my interest.  And of these recent reads I also enjoyed it the most.  The story takes place in the 14th century, featuring a poor nameless boy who is cast out from his village after his mother dies.  This isn't the fanciful setting most medieval authors portray in their fiction.  It's a more realistic version with feudal lords, serfs, the black plague, and crippling poverty.  Which also made it more interesting, I thought.  Eventually the main character learns that his true name is Crispin and that there is more to his history than he would first suspect.  But it is a history full of sorrow that threatens his life and the life of his one friend and protector, the traveling entertainer called Bear.

That's not really doing the story justice, but you don't really need much more than that.  Once you get started, the book has enough momentum to keep you going.  Like I said, the story, subject, and setting were all really interesting.  But not as gripping as I would normally expect from a Newberry winner.  I've heard that there is a whole series about Crispin, but I haven't decided on whether I'm invested enough in his story to continue it.  However, I would definitely recommend it to it's older children / early teen audience.

I was going to write more about some of the other books I've read, but I realized that none of them really belong paired with a children's novel like Crispin.  So I'll save those for another time.  In the meantime, if you have read the series I would love to hear if you think it's worth continuing or not.

1 comment:

  1. I have this one sitting on my top shelf, and I let the fact that I was annoyed that the title and the author were hard to tell apart because they were both one word keep me from reading it. So now I'm going to get past that and when I'm in the mood for a short one, I'll read it. Thanks!