The hilarious diary of Catherine (called Birdy) in the year 1291. Catherine is 14. It's high time she was married - or that's what her father thinks. But Catherine is going to do everything she can to get rid of Shaggy Beard, the most disgusting suitor, 'whose breath smells like the mouth of Hell, who makes wind like others make music, who is ugly and old'. And she has no intention of becoming the perfect medieval lady like her mother wants, either. Whether she's grappling with spinning, or giving tips on flea removal, Catherine's fight for freedom is as funny as it is poignant. But can she find a better life for herself?
Fans of this Newbery Honor book may also appreciate Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice, a Newbery Medal Book, about another strong young woman finding her way in medieval England.
"The book is rich with information about the food, dress, religious beliefs, manners, health, medical practices, and sanitary habits (or lack thereof) of the people of her day. From the number of fleas she kills in an evening to her herbal medicines laced with urine, Birdy reveals fascinating facts about her time period. A feminist far ahead of her time, she is both believable and lovable." -- School Library Journal