Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Midwife's Apprentice

Unabridged Audiobook

Cushman, Karen. 1995. THE MIDWIFE'S APPRENTICE. HarperCollins: New York.  ISBN 9780064406307

The story of The Midwife's Apprentice is of an obscure girl called Beetle, or Brat, who becomes a smart and lovely young woman.  With no family, no home and not even a name, she struggles through a cold homeless life.  After being taken in by a midwife named Sharp, the young girl learns of life and responsibility.  She finds a name for herself while running an errand, and becomes, Alice.  She learns to cope with failure, learns to love and how to cry, and finally Alice learns her place in the world. 

Critical Analysis
Kushman's story of the young girl, Beetle's, transformation in to Alice is brought to life by the lovely and animated narration of Jenny Sterlin.  The listener can instantly relate to the girl's compassionate and innocent feelings and her struggle to find her place in the world.  The girl names herself Alice, and is bursting with pride and love for herself.  After preforming courageous acts and overcoming her failures, Alice proclaims that she knows "her place in this world for right now."  This profound yet simple statement is an epiphany that even many adults never even realize.  The Midwife's Apprentice is a beautifully written novel, with a powerful leading character, and the unabridged recording is truly enjoyable for all ages.  

2008 Newbery Honor Book
ALA (American Library Assn), Notable Book for Children 2008 
ALA, Best Book for Young Adults 2008
Booklist, Editors' Choice 2007
National Parenting Publications Book Award 2007
New York Public Library, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2007
Book Sense Award Finalist 2007

"There are laugh-out-loud moments that leaven tie many poignant ones as Schmidt explores many important themes, not the least of which is what makes a person a hero." - School Library Journal 2007
" of the most endearing characters to come along in some time." - Publishers Weekly 2008
"Cushman writes with a sharp simplicity and a pulsing beat. . . ." - Booklist 1995

  • The Wednesday Wars would be an excellent gateway or introduction to Shakespeare's liturature.  After reading, students can study a specific play and look for parallels in their own world
  • Students can practice Reader's Theater for their favorite section of the book and act it out in groups for the class.
  •  After reading each chapter (titled by the months of the year), students can keep a reading journal and practice summarizing and sharing what they have read.

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