Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village

written by Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Robert Byrd

Reviewed by Margaret Donsbach

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz and Robert Byrd
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! was written for a group of students studying the Middle Ages and is meant to be performed before an audience. There are parts for twenty-one players in the book, most in the form of verses to be performed by a single player, with two dialogues for two players each. The verses offer vivid glimpses into the lives of medieval young people aged about ten to fifteen years old, each with a distinct personality. Sometimes a verse will continue a story begun in an earlier verse, as with the lament of Isobel over her stained silk gown:

I passed through the town on my way to the market
and somebody threw it – a clod of dung.
I saw the boys, but I didn't know which –
I was walking eyes down, as a modest maid should.

The next voice is from someone unexpected:

I shouldn't have done it.
I knew it was wrong
when the muck left my hand –
it was folly and cruelty
And I wish I hadn't.

The stories in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! reflect the harsh realities of life in the Middle Ages, but the feelings of the young characters are timeless. (2007; 85 pages; recommended for ages 10 and up; 2008 Newbery Medal winner)

More about Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! at Powell's Books or

Other books about medieval children:

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman (1994), about an English nobleman's daughter in 1290 who longs for adventure and doesn't want to get married. Recommended for grades 6-9. See Review or More info at Powell's Books

Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman (2000), about a well-educated girl in medieval England whose life changes when she becomes the assistant to a bonesetter. More info

Nonfiction for children about the Middle Ages:

Children and Games in the Middle Ages by Lynne Elliott (2004). More info

Manners and Customs in the Middle Ages by Marsha Groves (2006).
More info

Life on a Medieval Manor by Marc Cels (2004). More info


Medieval Realms an illustrated guide to life in the Middle Ages

Back to Young Adult Novels: Medieval

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