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The Witch of Blackbird Pond (original 1958; edition 1978)

by Elizabeth Speare

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6,096142674 (4.05)187
Member:meldridge
Title:The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Authors:Elizabeth Speare
Info:Laurel Leaf Library/ Dell Publishing Co Inc (1978), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:2012

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958)

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3.5***

Kit Taylor has had to leave her home in Barbados after her grandfather’s death, and has gone to live with her aunt and uncle in 1687 Connecticut. The Puritan community in which she finds herself is different from what she has known in her life; everything from the clothing, way of life, religious beliefs, loyalty to the King of England, even the weather, is totally foreign.

Kit is a lovely girl (though not the stunning beauty her cousin Judith is), and determined to make her way in this place so unlike her childhood home. She learns to do the chores that had always been handled by slaves and servants on her grandfather’s Barbados plantation. She dutifully attends church services with her aunt, uncle and cousins, though she cannot keep her mind on the grim sermons. However, her personality will not let her acquiesce entirely. She is talented, but also kind, with a deep sense of justice. And so she befriends the lonely, elderly Hannah, whom the townspeople refer to as the Witch of Blackbird Pond; and also secretly teaches a young child to read who has always been called “slow” by her parents. Her refusal to fit in will come to haunt her in the end.

It’s a well-told piece of YA historical fiction, but I didn’t find it particularly compelling. I like the moral of the story, but felt that the romantic aspect was unnecessary. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 24, 2016 |
This story, about a teenage girl leaving Barbados to live with her relatives in Connecticut in 1687, handles universal emotions and questions that teenage girls need to deal with. Kit is used to a completely different, freer life, and struggles with the puritanical attitudes of the village (and her uncle). She doesn't follow all the rules, but does follow her idea of what's right, including making friends with an old, outcast Quaker woman and teaching a poor little girl how to read.

I enjoyed both the story, with nice details of real life of the time, and the characters, who were all nicely developed. The social commentary was excellent and the romances were charming. It's remarkable how well this book, published in 1958 and winning a Newberry Award in 1959, has held up so well over time. The writing is lovely, the story so strong, and the appeal for tolerance is still so relevant.
  Connie-D | Jan 24, 2016 |
Kit Tyler travels from Barbados to live with her aunts family in Connecticut before the Revolutionary War. Kit has a hard time fitting in with the strict Puritans. I read thsi book as a child but couldn't remember any of the story line. I liked the description of early colonial life and that Kit had spunk. I didn't remember there being so much emphasis on the love story but I didn't mind it. I can see why this won a Newberry Award. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
So creepy, but I adored it anyway. ( )
  eslee | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is a classic book, suitable for adults as well as young adults. An enjoyable, well-written and educational story. Worth revisiting!
  VicRML | Jan 6, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth George Speareprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hurt, Mary BethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On a morning in mid-April, 1687, the brigantine Dolphin left the open sea, sailed briskly across the Sound to the wide mouth of the Connecticut River and into Saybrook harbor.
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"Still dazed, Hannah accepted the miracle and the prospect of a journey like a docile child. Then after two shaky steps she turned obstinate. She would not set foot in the boat without her cat."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440995779, Mass Market Paperback)

Forced to leave her sunny Caribbean home for the bleak Connecticut Colony, Kit Tyler is filled with trepidation. As they sail up the river to Kit's new home, the teasing and moodiness of a young sailor named Nat doesn't help. Still, her unsinkable spirit soon bobs back up. What this spirited teenager doesn't count on, however, is how her aunt and uncle's stern Puritan community will view her. In the colonies of 1687, a girl who swims, wears silk and satin gowns, and talks back to her elders is not only headstrong, she is in grave danger of being regarded as a witch. When Kit befriends an old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, it is more than the ascetics can take: soon Kit is defending her life. Who can she count on as she confronts these angry and suspicious townspeople?

A thoroughly exciting and rewarding Newbery Medal winner and ALA Notable Children's Book, Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond brings this frightening period of witch hysteria to life. Readers will wonder at the power of the mob mentality, and the need for communities in desperate times--even current times--to find a scapegoat. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:12 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In 1687, Kit Tyler moves from the Caribbean to Connecticut Colony. Her friendship for a strange, old woman leads to her trial for witchcraft.

(summary from another edition)

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