Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Inquisitor's Tale gets 4 Stars {middle grade fiction, newbery honor}

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz is a 2017 Newbery Honor  Book gets 4 out of 5 stars in my book review of this middle grade fiction book. Juvenile lit, middle ages, magical, dark ages, christianity, king louis, france, miracles, Alohamora Open a Book

That silver sticker on the front means it's a pretty good book.  Okay, the silver sticker on the front means its one of the best books published last year.  Kind of a big deal when you think about the ridiculous number of books published each and every year.

That silver sticker means it's a Newbery Honor book, aka a runner-up to the most distinguished book published last year in America.  

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz won the Newbery Honor book this year.  

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  I liked this book.  I liked the setting and that I learned so much about the middle ages.  I really liked the author's note at the end that included the inspiration for the characters and events; it was incredibly detailed and in depth.  I laughed out loud when I learned the farting dragon was a historical story Gidwitz came across; while reading the story I really thought the author put it in there just to attrack the boys.  I really did like this story and it's similarity to the Canterbury Tales, but that it was so creative and complex.  

There were only a few things I didn't like about the book; hence the high rating it deserved.  I didn't love that the book was slower in pace.  It wasn't a slow story or have any slow parts, but it did feel like a slow and methodical pace that wound it's way through.  I do think Gidwitz did a great job writing this book, and is well deserving of the Newbery Honor.  Overall, it is well written, a good story, funny, a tad random, and have enjoyable illustrations.

However, I think children would struggle to read this book or the book may struggle to keep the child's interest.  Personally, I'm not sure I would've read this book had it not won an award. Though, I'm glad I did read it, and I'm glad I listened to part of the audiobook.  The audiobook version is well done with several different voices for the many characters and other characters involved.   

I may have not picked up this book to read, but School Library Journal states in their review that this book is a must read. 

"What is a miracle? Is a miracle what happens when, faced with murderous bandits, a teenage monk rips a leg off his donkey, beats them to death with it, then restores the donkey's leg? Or is it a miracle when a cranky innkeeper is so moved by a little girl's friendliness that he risks his life to help her and her companions flee a posse of armed knights? Maybe the real miracle happens when readers attracted to the action and violence a particular author is known for find themselves strongly invested in the moral questions that plague bandit-killing monk and friendly peasant girl alike—along with every other character they encounter, from a young minstrel/pickpocket to Louis IX. Gidwitz's tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heart-stopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great wood chippers of history—the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start. It is left to the titular Inquisitor to discover the truth behind the legends that quickly rise to surround these kids. He nudges it from each of the travelers at a roadside inn, the narrative tension rising as each facet is revealed. VERDICT This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader's appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, and the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it." 

So, what do you say, are you a medieval fan? Will you pick up this book to give it a read?  

I do think this could make an interesting book club book, or a great Battle of the Books book. 

Happy Medieval Award Winning Middle Grade Fiction reading!

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
Rating: 4/5 stars
Best For: 10- 14 year olds, 5th to 9th grade
Worth a Check Out: Yes!
Buy It or Not:  Probably not, unless you love the middle ages 
Read Aloud: It's a slow pace, but possibly in a 6th of 7th grade class or with a parent
Lesson Ideas: Middle Ages, France, Inquisitors

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