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Adam of the Road (1942)
por Elizabeth Janet Gray
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I've owned this since I acquired it as a library discard when I was in junior high, and that's when I last read it. I'd really forgotten all details of the story.
This Newberry Award winner from 1943 follows Adam, an 11-year-old minstrel, son of a minstrel named Roger. As the book starts, Adam is being educated in an abbey, eager for his father to return from what is essentially a business trip to France. He loves his spaniel Nick and his harp best of all things in the world. When Roger returns, they set off on a road trip. Another minstrel steals Nick, and when father and son set off in pursuit, they are soon separated. Adam spends months on his own, meeting a variety of people around England in 1294.
Foremost, I was surprised by the wealth of medieval details worked into the book. Gray's research was immense, and she gracefully incorporates everything. This is also very much a boy's adventure book. Girls and women have almost no roles, and Adam regards all girls with outright disdain after one thinks cats are better than dogs. The ending feels weirdly tidy and abrupt. I do adore the Robert Lawson illustrations throughout--he's one of my favorite illustrators and authors of this period.
I don't think this is a book I need to keep on my shelf after thirty years, but it was good to read it again.
Adam is a young minstrel, son of a minstrel, in medieval England. He loves his father, Roger, his dog, Nick, and being a minstrel. We meet the characters and go along with them for a good third of the book before Adam becomes separated both from his dog and his dad. Nick is stolen, and in the chase to catch the dog-napper, he loses his father as well. The rest of the book is Adam's quest to find at least one, but preferably both members of his family. Each chapter is its own small adventure, and we definitely are given a view of the middle ages through heavily rose-tinted glasses.
I had mixed feelings about this one. Definitely enjoyed it more than most Newbery winners as old as this (1942 copyright), so it holds up better than some. Adam was a likable protagonist too. But the tale didn't seem have much of a point beyond just following Adam around England hunting for his father and dog. He didn't really learn any lessons, or become a better person. So, while an entertaining enough book, it felt sort of empty at the end. Enjoyable, but probably forgettable.
Adam is an eleven year old son of a minstrel, and training to follow in his father's footsteps. While out on the road Adam's dog is stolen, and then he and his father become separated. Alone in thirteenth century England Adam uses his wits and talents to not only survive, but to locate both his father and his dog.
This book deserves its Newbery Metal, as an extremely well-written, believable, and exciting story for all ages.
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The adventures of eleven-year-old Adam as he travels the open roads of thirteenth-century England searching for his missing father, a minstrel, and his stolen red spaniel, Nick.
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Sistema Decimal Melvil (DDC)813 — Literature English (North America) American fiction
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FROM AMAZON: Eleven-year-old Adam loved to travel throughout thirteenthcentury England with his father, a wandering minstrel, and his dog, Nick. But when Nick is stolen and his father disappears, Adam suddenly finds himself alone. He searches the same roads he traveled with his father, meeting various people along the way. But will Adam ever find his father and dog and end his desperate search? ( )