Step back to an English village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating twenty-two unforgettable characters.<P><P> Maidens, monks, and millers' sons -- in these pages, readers will meet them all. There's Hugo, the lord's nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant's daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There's also mud-slinging Barbary (and her noble victim); Jack, the compassionate half-wit; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and many more. With a deep appreciation for the period and a grand affection for both characters and audience, Laura Amy Schlitz creates twenty-two riveting portraits and linguistic gems equally suited to silent reading or performance. Illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Robert Byrd -- inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript, an illuminated poem from thirteenth-century Germany -- this witty, historically accurate, and utterly human collection forms an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England.<P> A Newbery Award book.
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