December 20, 2007

Review: Adam of the Road

Adam of the Road
by Elizabeth Janet Gray
317 pages
First Sentence:

After a May as gray and cold as December, June came in, that year of 1294, sunny
and warm and full of birds and blossoms and all the other happy things the songs
praise May for.

Adam is the son of a minstrel, and a proud son at that. When his father picks him up from a boarding school, he learns what being a minstrel is really all about. There are several adventures big and small, including having his best companion, a red spaniel named Nick, stolen; then losing his father. Along the way, Adam learns why the road is considered a minstrel's only true home. He also discovers that it is the only true path for him.

What I really liked about this book was that Adam holds on to that childlike belief in the goodness of the world no matter what happens to him. He meets some dastardly characters but he spends more time thinking about those he meets that are good and kind. Also, it is told from Adam's perspective in just the way a child looks at the world. What I mean is that he sees people with flaws, like his father gambling his earnings away in one night, but he doesn't judge them. He still admires his father but he sees firsthand why it is said that cards are the minstrel's downfall. The reader feels certain that Adam, as well as his remorseful father, has learned a valuable lesson that he will never forget.

Unfortunately, the story didn't feel like a must-read. It was good but not fantastic. It would work well for a child studying about that time period or might appeal to a child that dreams about going out on his own but it was not one I will likely read again because of a low interest level.

This was my sixth and final book for the Newbery Challenge. Yay! I completed another challenge. I am glad to have been exposed to some wonderful kid lit. that I never would have just read for the fun of it.

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