GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! VOICES FROM A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE; Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd; Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick, 2007; 85pgs. Nonfiction.
This year's Newbery winner is a play comprised of a series of monologues and dialogues about medieval village life. Written as a play for students at Baltimore's Park School, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! gives children the opportunity to take the parts of a a plowboy, the knight's son, the tanner's apprentice, and the blacksmith's daughter, among many others. The voices are authentic, with explanations of archaic language and practice in edge notes along either side of the monologue. Ms. Schlitz writes truly and with a light heart, including her readers in her own feelings, as though she were talking to a school class. Robert Byrd's watercolor and ink illustrations and decorations perfectly complement the text.