Thursday, April 27, 2017

Peasread: The Witch Of Blackbird Pond

I just finished this book last night. My ten year old was reading it so I snatched it up for a quick read. It's 249 pages.  So very good. The Witch of Blackbird Pond is about a 16 year old girl, Katherine/Kit who grew up in Barbados in 1867. Her grandfather dies and she crosses the ocean to go live with her Aunt Rachael in Connecticut to avoid marrying a much older man. On the ship to Wethersfield, Connecticut Kit jumps overboard to rescue a child's doll. This is met with suspicion because so few people in Connecticut could swim so well. She is warned by Nathaniel/Nat Eaton, the ship captain's son that she should be careful, when he drops her off at her aunt's house he leaves her with a warning that it is the belief that only witches could swim.

Aunt Rachel and her husband Uncle Matthew welcome Kit into their home, because she has no other kin. Uncle Matthew is a solemn and strict man. They have two daughters Mercy and Judith. Kit tries to adapt to the strict and hard working Puritan lifestyle. She was used to a affluent lifestyle in Barbados with servants. Life is hard with long hours of work. Kit is an outsider and it is difficult for her to adapt quickly. She meets a widow that lives in the meadow who is a Quaker named Hannah Tupper.  Hannah is an outsider who some call a witch. Kit quickly befriends the nice widow.
A illness sweeps through the town and the town folk start to point fingers toward Hannah and accusing her of bringing a curse upon them. There is a witch hunt by the townspeople, and soon Kit is among one of the accused. Kit must decide whether she will stand by her friend, or obey her Uncle who has forbade her to see the widow.
I think this story is beautifully written. The religious intolerance, the shunning of an outsider because they are different, being a new girl in a new place, are all themes that children can learn from and can sometimes relate to. This story is not only about religious intolerance and witch hunts. It's also about adapting to new situations and surroundings and about the strength of friendship and family.

The Witch of  Blackbird Pond
Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Genre: Children's novel, Historical novel, Realistic Fiction
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date
December 1, 1958
Pages 249 pages

Would I read it again? Yes.
Would I recommend it to adults? Yes.
What about teens? Yes.

What about children? Yes, fourth grade depending on reading level and comprehension. There is talk of death, illness, hanging a witch. There are no graphic explanations.

My review: 4 stars
My ten year old's review: 4 (She did say it was hard to follow in some parts).

1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
 4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing

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