Catherine, Called Birdy

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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."
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Honestly funny

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."

Good Points
The diary format makes the reader feel as if she's sharing Catherine's thoughts but doesn't take away from the action of the story. The details are realistic and gritty, and all the characters are so well-drawn you can "see" what they look like and "hear" their voices. The plot moves along steadily and "sucks you in" and the humor is at times laugh out loud.
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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.

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader August 07, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

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.

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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!!


Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader April 13, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

nice! Ü

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!!


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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.

...................................................................................................................................................................................
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
2.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader June 07, 2008
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

sucks

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.

...................................................................................................................................................................................

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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.
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader May 05, 2007
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

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.

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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.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader March 12, 2006
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

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.

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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.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader November 14, 2005
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

cool read!

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.

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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.
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader June 25, 2005
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

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.

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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.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader November 27, 2004
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

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.

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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!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader June 24, 2004
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

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!

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Reader reviewed by Amanda

Catherine (AKA Birdy) is a young woman in medieval times. She is a noble, but feels like a servant. She’s funny, but stubborn. Her annoying and stupid father is trying to find a suitable, pig-like suitor for feisty Catherine. Catherine doesn’t like any of his choices. She’s thinking why can he pick a more” nice and pleasant one. What trick should I play on him next? How can he be such a devil? Can he clean his teeth? Please!!!!” Read about the adventures of Birdy, party girl of medieval times, with dancing bears, the goat boy, Aelis, Shaggy Beard, the “devilish” visitors, and mother’s pregnancy in Catherine Called Birdy.


This is a witty book. You might imagine The Princess Diaries crossed with The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I in genre. I was giggling inside from Catherine’s revolt against Shaggy Beard, poking fun with her father, and dealing with life’s problems. In my mind, Catherine Called Birdy is an eagle with a broken wing, soaring above the clouds. Even with her problems, she succeeds!


Catherine Called Birdy is recommended for girls 10 and up for laughs, smiles, and a chance of the giggles.


Cue: rock music. Catherine dancing her way through the 1290s! If you are 10 and up, a girl, and a reader, this will be your savior!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader July 06, 2003
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

Catherine flies to the sky

Reader reviewed by Amanda

Catherine (AKA Birdy) is a young woman in medieval times. She is a noble, but feels like a servant. She’s funny, but stubborn. Her annoying and stupid father is trying to find a suitable, pig-like suitor for feisty Catherine. Catherine doesn’t like any of his choices. She’s thinking why can he pick a more” nice and pleasant one. What trick should I play on him next? How can he be such a devil? Can he clean his teeth? Please!!!!” Read about the adventures of Birdy, party girl of medieval times, with dancing bears, the goat boy, Aelis, Shaggy Beard, the “devilish” visitors, and mother’s pregnancy in Catherine Called Birdy.


This is a witty book. You might imagine The Princess Diaries crossed with The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I in genre. I was giggling inside from Catherine’s revolt against Shaggy Beard, poking fun with her father, and dealing with life’s problems. In my mind, Catherine Called Birdy is an eagle with a broken wing, soaring above the clouds. Even with her problems, she succeeds!


Catherine Called Birdy is recommended for girls 10 and up for laughs, smiles, and a chance of the giggles.


Cue: rock music. Catherine dancing her way through the 1290s! If you are 10 and up, a girl, and a reader, this will be your savior!

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Reader reviewed by L. Eustace

Catherine is forced to wed by her father, only thing is she doesn't know who yet. While the usual girl in her place would just give in, she goes around to scare off her intended suitors. A funny and wild story about a wild girl of the middle ages.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader March 18, 2002
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

A wild girl of the middle ages

Reader reviewed by L. Eustace

Catherine is forced to wed by her father, only thing is she doesn't know who yet. While the usual girl in her place would just give in, she goes around to scare off her intended suitors. A funny and wild story about a wild girl of the middle ages.

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