This was the perfect book to read back-to-back with Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! In fact, I read this one first. I was so moved by Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! that I reviewed it first.
Crispin is a delightfully engaging story. I certainly was sucked in to the charactert “Asta’s Son”–as Crispin is called–and his struggle for survival and to discover his own identity. I would recommend it without question.
I did find the plot a bit predictable. I don’t know if that’s my reading as an adult, or if it was. Usually I can set aside that “adultness” when reading any kid’s book, but occasionally I can’t, and I still don’t know if that’s my fault or the author’s. In this case, I felt as if we knew immediately the boy’s identity, why he was in danger, and I predicted the ending (which I found a bit over-the-top fancifully speaking). HOWEVER, it was jam-packed with great insights into medieval living, with details and information that is valuable. Sometime this was true to the point that I was worried that Avi was packing in every single detail about the Middle Ages that he know. At any rate, the story was beautifully done and certainly engaging and educational. I’d say it fully deserved its Newbery Award.
Again, reading this and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! in the same weekend was a delightful immersion into the Middle Ages.