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Catherine Called Birdy

by Karen Cushman  |  Grades: 4-6  |  Ages: 10-12  |  Lexile Level: 1090

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman Teacher Guide, Lesson Plans, Novel Unit

About Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

"Corpus Bones! I utterly loathe my life."

Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to arich man--any rich man, no matter how awful.

But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call--by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all.

Unfortunately, he is also the richest.

Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father?

Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!

The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.

In her "witty, irreverent diary," Catherine describes her mother's efforts to turn her into a lady, her father's attempts to marry her off, and her resolve to be who she wants to be and live the life she chooses, despite the conventions governing girls of good family in medieval England.

A Newbery Honor book.

Reviews

"This unusual book provides an insider's look at the life of Birdy, 14, the daughter of a minor English nobleman. The year is 1290 and the vehicle for storytelling is the girl's witty, irreverent diary. . . . Superb historical fiction." --School Library Journal, Starred

"The period has rarely been presented for young people with such authenticity; the exotic details will intrigue readers while they relate more closely to Birdy's yen for independence and her sensibilities toward the downtrodden. Her tenacity and ebullient naiveté are extraordinary; at once comic and thought-provoking, this first novel is a delight." --Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

Biographical Note About Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman's acclaimed historical novels include Catherine, Called Birdy, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Midwife's Apprentice, which received the Newbery Medal. She lives on Vashon Island in Washington State. Visit her online at karencushman.com and on Twitter @cushmanbooks.

Available Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, Novel Units, and Activities for Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman: