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“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.”
Summary: When Kit's grandfather dies, she was shipped from Barbados to Connecticut, where she was forced to wear rigid clothing, and act like a "proper" girl. Because she could swim and befriended a Quaker, the people of Weathersfield suspected her of being a witch. It is up to Kit to clear her name and find happiness in her new home. This is a fictional novel set in US colonial times.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up
Interest Level: 9 to 13
Reading Level: 5.7
Age of Child: Read by three 11-year-old students at John Jay Middle School (Katonah, NY)
Young Reader Reaction: We selected this book because we were intrigued by the idea of witches. We liked the book because at the end of each chapter, the author left us with a cliff hanger. After the first chapter, we felt sad for Kit because her grandfather died and her parents were already dead. It got better because they had accused Kit of being a witch. We also liked the old-fashioned New England language. On the other hand, it was hard to relate to a girl who lived so long ago.
Adult Reader Reaction: N/A for this review.
Pros: This is a story with a happy ending, and it has a lesson, too: don't give up on your dreams and what you believe in.
Cons: Some of the vocabulary was a bit confusing.
Borrow or Buy: We recommend borrowing this book and would recommend it to girls who likes historical fiction.
Educational Themes: This is a work of historical fiction. There are elements of information that offer context to colonial America and the attitudes and perceptions of the colonists. You can draw out other topics that are relevant for today's world, too, including prejudice, judging others, perseverance, and integrity, among others.
Notes: Newbery Medal winner and ALA Notable Children's Book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - historical fiction, classic literature, Colonial America
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2008
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com and borders.com.