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Dobry (1934)

by Monica Shannon

Other authors: Atanas Katchamakoff (Illustrator)

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222495,731 (3.15)17
A Bulgarian peasant boy must convince his mother that he is destined to be a sculptor, not a farmer.

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So many Newbery Medal winners from this time period are designed to try and expose child readers to other cultures, in this case the peasant and gypsy culture of the Balkans, but the story, today, drags, and has no real denouement, unless it is the arrival of the long-awaited gypsy bear relatively early in the book. Full of stories within stories told by the beloved grandfather meant to impart morality and wisdom to the cheerful, successful lead character Dobry, who we sort of watch grow up with few real challenges. Would not recommend this for current public or school library collections. Unlikely to be read or enjoyed by modern-day children. ( )
  GReader28 | May 30, 2016 |
I am beginning to think my quest to read all the Newbery winners is a colossal waste of time. I'm not sure if children were really boring in 1934, or easier to please than today's children, or if the Newbery committee just did an awful job choosing the books back then, but this book was so boring. It is about a young boy living in Bulgaria and his daily life.

Maybe it was not acceptable back then to write books about the real challenges kids face, or to have complex characters, or to make kids really think or feel something, because it seems all the early Newbery winners are that way. I guess it is similar to all those black and white tv shows that didn't necessarily address what the real world was like.

It makes me wonder if the changing Newbery choices reflect actual cultural shifts, or if it has merely become more acceptable to talk about the dark underbelly that has always been there.

Thankfully this is the lowest rates Newbery on goodreads, so hopefully they will be better from here on out. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Filled with simple yet strong illustrations, this tale of a Bulgarian peasant boy has the same feel to it - strong and yet simple. Village life for Dobry revolves around the traditions that mark the passing of the seasons - planting, caring for the animals, the arrival of the gypsies, the religious celebrations. The story of Dobry's growing artistic ability is told as a natural recognition of who he is. I find myself wondering if this tale can be at all a reflection of how life really ever was in Bulgaria. It would be nice to think so. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Apr 3, 2011 |
Why is this book a forgotten Newbery? I had so much trouble finding a used or new copy that I ended up having to get a copy from my library.Dobry is the story of a boy in Bulgaria who wants to become an artist during a time when most people are farmers. The story is full of details about Bulgarian life during the time, the arrival of storks, a massaging gypsy bear, diving through ice to locate a golden crucifix. Why, then, is this book forgotten? The illustrations were initially not compelling, but I grew to appreciate them as the story progressed. There is mention in the book of both peasants and gypsies; could this be why the book is ignored? ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica Shannonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Katchamakoff, AtanasIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Dobry ran to a window, slid back its window-panel carved with buffalo heads. "Snow! Why, it's snowing, Grandfather! The courtyard is white already."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A Bulgarian peasant boy must convince his mother that he is destined to be a sculptor, not a farmer.

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