Adam of the Road

Adam of the Road

Book - 1942
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Penguin Putnam
A Newbery Medal Winner

Awarded the John Newbery Medal as "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" in the year of its publication. "A road's a kind of holy thing," said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. "That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle." And Adam, though only eleven, was to remember his father's words when his beloved dog, Nick, was stolen and Roger had disappeared and he found himself traveling alone along these same great roads, searching the fairs and market towns for his father and his dog.

Here is a story of thirteenth-century England, so absorbing and lively that for all its authenticity it scarcely seems "historical." Although crammed with odd facts and lore about that time when "longen folke to goon on pilgrimages," its scraps of song and hymn and jongleur's tale of the period seem as newminted and fresh as the day they were devised, and Adam is a real boy inside his gay striped surcoat.

"Engaging and beautifully written."—Children's Literature

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Baker & Taylor
In thirteenth-century England an eleven-year-old boy roams the countryside as he searches for his father and his stolen dog

Publisher: New York, The Viking press, 1942
ISBN: 9780670104352
Branch Call Number: J FICTION GRAY
Characteristics: 317 p. illus. 24 cm


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Oct 10, 2019

This book made me want to rip my eyes out

IndyPL_SteveB May 24, 2019

Winner of the 1943 Newbery Award for children’s literature.

An above-average novel of the Middle Ages, set in 1294-95, in the reign of King Edward I. Adam is the 11-year-old son of a popular minstrel, Roger. He is a harpist and has learned to read and write English and Latin and to speak French. As the book opens, Roger takes Adam and his dog Nick to London, where Adam learns about the ways of a great lord’s household. Eventually, they set out to go to the fair at Winchester, where Roger plans major entertainments. But on the way, Nick is stolen by a rival minstrel. It’s bit of a slow start, but when a kid’s dog gets stolen, it’s hard not to connect. From there on, the book was very involving and exciting.

While chasing the dog thief, Adam is separated from his father. The rest of the story relates Adam’s adventures as he goes from town to town, singing for his supper and looking for his dog and his father. It’s pretty exciting stuff when he escapes from robbers and when he gets involved with some dishonest minstrels. If you have children or grandchildren who need to read an historical novel, the Middle Ages are likely to be a new era for them. This is a great choice.

Mar 05, 2019

Bounces around, buts still good.

Lovestoread5 Aug 16, 2018

I was engrossed in this story. Especially after Nick was stolen; the adventures Adam experiences on the road and the people he meets is heartwarming and exciting. I didn't realize what minstrelsy was until reading Adam of the Road. A great read. You'll like it!

Mar 23, 2016

Such a great book!!


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