More Newbery Thoughts: Karen Cushman's Alchemy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It is hard not to compare a book like Alchemy and Meggy Swann to the author's previous works. Karen Cushman writes historical fiction.  She writes about girls who, because of their place in history, have little to no power. Girls who have large obstacles to overcome. But if you were on the Newbery committee you couldn't compare Alchemy and Meggy Swann to the Midwife's Apprentice or Catherine Called Birdy. You would only be allowed to compare it to other books published this year. So I am going to pretend I'm on the Newbery committee and even though I really want compare Alchemy with Cushman's other books I am going to refrain. 

I enjoyed Alchemy and Meggy Swann. There were bits of historical information that I found very interesting.  I liked learning about the players and their troubles and I liked the bits about alchemy. But I found Meggy a little too lucky.  I couldn't get rid of the feeling that she achieved things too easily. Did any one else feel this way? I could see Alchemy winning a Newbery Honor but THE Newbery Medal?  I don't think it's the very best of the best from this year.  However I also still feel like I haven't come across that book yet.  We'll keep reading and discussing books in the children's department and we want to hear from others, so please recommend books to us.  We can't wait to hear from you!
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