Catherine, Called Birdy transports the reader to the 13th century, and even though the reality of life in that time was harsh by our standards, this book makes you see that thirteen year old girls have many of the same feelings no matter what century they live in. It's amazing how Karen Cushman is able to mix humor and melancholy without it feeling "forced."
A feminist way before her time...
Reader reviewed by mary
Catharine, Called Birdy is the story of a young girl growing up in the year 1290s. A feminist way before her time, Catharine is a noble with a father who views her as currency as a young bride and a mother who meekly follows the rules of 13th century England. The book is mostly about her fathers quest to find a rich man young or old, ugly or handsome, vulgar or polite, it made no difference to him. As long as this man was willing to take Catharine with him into wedlock as his bride. Catharine, though, will have nothing of this. She pulls parks and many stunts, sending each suitor scurrying back to wherever he came from; all except one. Enter Shaggy Beard by far the oldest, ugliest, and most revolting suitor of them all. Unfortunately, he is also the richest, and her father seems determined to marry her off to this man! But Catharine will have none of it.
Her story gives a new view on life in early England, from monks to the oppression of Jews. This was an eye-opening story, a must-read.
Reader reviewed by laylay
Hey this is a fairly nice book! If you're a fan of the Middle Ages then this a book for you but if your are a fan for action and somewhat romance then this is not the book for you! Like me personally I would say it's a two because it didn't grab my attention like other books do!
It doesn't have that BOOM! in the story that You want and is intrested in!! This is a good book for teachers also if they are like a humanities or history teacher!
Look for this book Catherine Called Birdy in your local libraries!!
Reader reviewed by mike s
ugh. boy does this book suck. besides the very few clever and witty comments laying around this book. the book's very boring. i didn't enjoy reading it at all.
Memorable Protagonist Sets This Book Apart
Reader reviewed by Stephanie
In no other book set in thirteenth-century England has such a willful and admirable protagonist starred. Catherine, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a knight whom she claims is a rude pig, is called Birdy, and somehow the name suits her. Shed much rather be a villager, frolicking outdoors all day and not being reprimanded for getting her feet and clothes dirty.
Unfortunately for her, a well-off young lady has but one aim in life, and that is to be married to a well-off man. Throughout the year that she documents in her journal, Birdys father attempts to find her a husband. However, Birdy manages to scare away each one with her liveliness and cleverness.
Birdys doing pretty well considering the number of suitors shes managed to send away. Then she meets her match. A rich suitor, affectionately called by her as Shaggy Beard, wants to wed her. He doesnt care that she is willful, independent, and not very ladylike. Shes expected to not care that hes almost older than her father, ugly, bad-mannered, and gross. What will Birdy come up with in order to escape this most horrible fate for herself?
While not all readers will be satisfied with the ending, thinking that its a copout, the ending brought tears to my eyes. Birdy is such a fun main character who manages to also be eloquent and observant. Her concluding realization is wise beyond her years and marks her as a strong character who people should admire.
Should be read to all daughters -- and sons
Reader reviewed by Ralph Wahlstrom
I read Catherine, Called Birdy to both of my daughters years ago. Today, as I was looking for examples of historical fiction for a class, I remembered this lovely book and found the excerpt at ybookscentral.com. It's a wonderful read: clever, honest, engaging, and true to the history. Catherine is a strong young girl/woman whose view of the world is hopeful, humorous, and hard-nosed at times.
Reader reviewed by safia
This book is set during the Middle Ages in England. Catherine, whose nickname is Birdy, is neither rich or poor. Instead, her father is a knight with a manor house and receives taxes from the villagers in the form of crops and livestock.
14 year old Catherine loathes the sewing she must do and longs to be outside with the villagers gathering crops and fishing in the stream. However, her father has plans to marry her off and to anybody rich. Most of the suitors are ugly, old, or just awful. Catherine must use her clever wits and trickery to send them off.
Story contains humor and adventure. Not your average princess tale.
Catherine, Called Birdy
Reader reviewed by Blissful-Nightmares
Catherine, Called Birdy was an entertaining book about a girl with a rather dull life and a rather interesting personality that doesnt cope well with her mundayne surroundings.. I rated it a three because.. although i think it was a fairly good book it didnt hold my attention as well as I would have liked it to. Nonetheless a good book.
charming and funny
Reader reviewed by ik
This book takes you to the REAL middle age England through the eyes of a 13 year old girl. The book shows the reality of that time period in a very funny and clever way. This book will leave the reader laughing and thinking over their way of living at the same time.
Funny and witty!
Reader reviewed by Dylana
This book is great if you like reading about teenagers' lives in the past. Catherine's character is very witty and adventerous. She hates her father, who tries to marry her off to an old and rich suitor. She tries her hardest and uses the funniest ways to get out of being married off to a "pig". This book is a great read for any teenage girl because the chracters are interesting and Catherine is so much fun!