Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman

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In her long-awaited new novel, Newbery medalist Karen Cushman assembles a cast of unforgettable characters in a fascinating and pungent setting: the medical quarter of a medieval English village. To Blood and Bone Alley, home of leech, barber-surgeon, and apothecary, comes Matilda, raised by a priest to be pious and learned, and now destined to assist Red Peg the Bonesetter. To Matilda’s dismay, her work will not involve Latin or writing, but lighting the fire, going to market, mixing plasters and poultices, and helping Peg treat patients. Matilda is appalled by the worldliness of her new surroundings and yearns for the days at the manor when all she did was study and pray. Lonely and misunderstood, she seems destined for a fate as tragic as that of any of the sharp-tongued saints she turns to for advice.

Filled with the witty dialogue and richly authentic detail that Karen Cushman’s work is known for, Matilda Bone is a compelling comic novel about a girl who learns to see herself and others clearly, to laugh, and to live contentedly in this world. Author’s note.

About Karen Cushman

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Karen Cushman's first book, Catherine, Called Birdy, was a Newbery Honor Winner and her second, The Midwife's Apprentice, was awarded the Newbery Medal.
Published October 16, 2000 by Clarion Books. 178 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Fiction

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When the priest leaves her with Red Peg, the bonesetter in Blood and Bone Alley, Matilda disapproves of her new home, her new “mentor” and the requirements of her new job .

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Publishers Weekly

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Orphaned 13-year-old Matilda becomes apprenticed to Peg, a bonesetter in medieval times.

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Publishers Weekly

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As the novel opens, her self-appointed guardian, Father Leufredus, has just dropped her off at the meager lodgings of Red Peg the Bonesetter to learn Peg's trade.

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Gradually, Matilda comes to realize that there are things which Red Peg can teach her, that being learned and wise does not always mean that you are educated and clean, and that Father Leufredus' thinking will do little to help her in the real world.

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