Friday, July 13, 2007

Ever thought of how children lived in other time periods? Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (2003 Newbery Winner) will bring you back in time as you read Crispin's account of his adventures as he flees the village he grew up in. Set during the medieval times, the story is narrated in the voice of Crispin, a 13 year old peasant from a small village in England. Avi developed his story and characters very well as evident in Crispin's tale of his life as a peasant and his struggles to escape his pursuers who declared him "wolf's head" for a crime he did not commit. Crispin met Bear, a juggler who helped him discover the secret of the cross of lead.

The author not only provided suspense and mystery as the reader tries to understand Crispin's troubles, Avi also did a good job describing what was going on during that period. Crispin and his faith in God and in his patron saint, St. Giles, embodies the values of the Middle Ages, a time when Christianity was rapidly spreading throughout Europe and religious zeal among the peasantry was rampant. Read this book to get a glimpse of a boy's life from a long ago era and find out how why the Cross of Lead is significant to Crispin.

"Crispin: At the Edge of the World" is the second book in the Crispin Series by Avi. The story continues as Bear and Crispin enjoys their freedom from Crispin's pursuers. Eager to restart their life as minstrels and jugglers, they have not gone far when Bear was recognized by another member of the brotherhood he once served. Once again, the pair pursued because the brotherhood believes Bear to be an informer and they want him dead.

Although I enjoyed the story, I like the first book better but this one is a must read if you read Cross of Lead. In this book you will see that Crispin has matured beyond his years as he tries to survive in a new world outside the little village he grew up in. It was touching for me when they arrived to a town destroyed by war and Crispin saw the great sea for the first time in his life and he narrated: "Thus it was that in one brief time I saw the hand of God's creation as thrice awesome -- and the hand of man's destruction frightening three times more." Avi's style of writing has a way of bringing vividly to reader's mind what the story's narrator is seeing.
by Dora, Children's Room Intern

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