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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A man of means by no means. King of the road.
"Adam of the Road" is daunting, no question. Kids who have no difficulties lugging huge Harry Potter sized tomes might quaver a little at the 317 page density of this 1943 Newbery winner. If they go so far as to actually begin to read the book, however, they might be pleasantly surprised to find it not only readable, but enjoyable to boot. On its most basic level the...
Published on June 1, 2004 by E. R. Bird

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost and Found on the Road of Life
Set during the reign of King Edward "Longshanks" this story describes the life of a minstrel's son. Adam adores his pet spaniel, Nick, and pals around with a boy named Perkin, who is a fellow student at the Abbey School. But the youth yearns for his father's return, so that they may travel the glorious Road together: singing, harping, reciting tales (called Lays),...
Published on April 29, 2006 by Plume45


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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A man of means by no means. King of the road., June 1, 2004
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
"Adam of the Road" is daunting, no question. Kids who have no difficulties lugging huge Harry Potter sized tomes might quaver a little at the 317 page density of this 1943 Newbery winner. If they go so far as to actually begin to read the book, however, they might be pleasantly surprised to find it not only readable, but enjoyable to boot. On its most basic level the book is a tale about a boy, his father, and his dog. Beyond that, however, the book quickly becomes a quest novel where our hero picks up friends and foes along his path. In the end, a richly satisfying creation.

Our tale begins in June of 1294 in a little English abbey named St. Alban's. Here, our hero Adam has been left by his father, Roger the minstrel. Adam anticipates Roger's return (he never refers to his father by anything but the man's name, interestingly) any day. In the meantime, he has his friend and fellow student Perkin and his cocker spaniel Nick to keep him company. With an appropriate amount of pomp and flair, return Roger does. With his pop now a minstrel for a fine Lord, Adam is whisked away from the Abbey to join his father on the road. They adventure hither and yon, charming some people and amusing others. After some unfortunate run-ins with a less than chivalrous fellow minstrel named Jankin, Adam finds his dog stolen. So eager is Adam to get Nick back that in the course of his pursuit of Jankin he also loses his father. Thus, an eleven year-old boy must face a cold world with just his harp and minstrel skills to earn him food and shelter as he continually seeks his dad and dog.

As I read this story, a lingering memory began to form in my mind. Middle ages England... Minstrel & jesting skills... A boy and his father (or father-figure)... By George this is a remarkably similar plot to the 2003 Newbery award winning book, "Crispin: The Cross of Lead"! Certainly there are vast differences between the two as well, but people who wish to tie "Crispin" to another text would do very well indeed to consider the worthy "Adam of the Road". Now "Crispin" is a very socially conscious novel, pondering the fate of the poor and their servitude to the rich. "Adam of the Road", much to my surprise, was also fairly socially conscious (considering its publication date). Here the gentle reader may find complaints that the members of Parliament are all of noble birth and decide the rights of the people without asking for input from those they have (virtually) enslaved. There is a healthy amount of skepticism and careful examination of the religious leaders that have such a powerful hold over their communities. And most impressive of all was a section in which Adam seriously considers the double standard to which women were held at that time. In this scene, Adam has been informed that ladies may not chose their mates according to their hearts as the romantic ballads have said. The book says:
"The tales Roger told were full of the reverence and devotion that knghts paid to fair ladies and the desperate dangers they met gladly in order to win a smile from the ladies or a favor to wear on their sleeves. But in real life, it seemed, a beautiful young lady like Emilie was only a girl and it did not matter what she wanted because she had to do what she was told. It was very strange-".
Not only unromantic, but a hardship on the women themselves. Nothing like a little knowledgable reasoning within a children's book, eh?
There's plenty of rip-roaring adventures in this book, as well as amusing games that boys at that time liked to play. I'll admit right now that I was shocked to enjoy this book. When you've slogged through such Newbery winners as the tedious "Dobry", the mildly offensive "White Stag" or the incredibly racist "Daniel Boone", an actual honest-to-goodness fun book like this takes you completely by surprise. And did I mention the illustrations by Robert Lawson? You may remember this talented artist from such books as "The Story of Ferdinand", "They Were Strong and Good", and "Mr. Poppin's Penguins". If you've never seen a Lawson illustration, this book would be a wonderful place to start. Riddling the tale with entrancing pictures and illustrations I really feel that Lawson is the extra nudge that pushes "Adam of the Road" from midly amusing to downright fun. The book looks daunting, but definitely pick it up. I garuntee to you that it exceeds all expectations with great ease and accomplishment.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Sleeper" from the past, February 11, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
In the wake of "Harry Potter" mania, I selected Adam of The Road to read to my second and third grade class. The book starts out slowly, there are lots of long descriptive passages of the natural world. The basic story though, is enchanting. Following young Adam Quartemayne through his adventures in the late 1200's is extremely interesting and entertaining. The children were hooked! They begged for more at the end of each chapter and retold the story at home to their parents. They started drawing their own additional illustrations and now want to adapt the book for a class play. Let me also mention these were children without any real background in English or medeival history. It was a crowd pleaser.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost and Found on the Road of Life, April 29, 2006
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
Set during the reign of King Edward "Longshanks" this story describes the life of a minstrel's son. Adam adores his pet spaniel, Nick, and pals around with a boy named Perkin, who is a fellow student at the Abbey School. But the youth yearns for his father's return, so that they may travel the glorious Road together: singing, harping, reciting tales (called Lays), spreading news and performing acrobatics-anything to entertain a crowd and therefore earn food and lodging.

Overjoyed when Roger returns to claim him astride a huge warhorse, Adam sets out wearing his new French minstrel togs. During the course of the next six months, however, the boy will come of age as he struggles to survive on his own-using his skills and his wits. First Roger looses the horse in a game of dice; then Nick is stolen by an unscrupulous minstrel named Jankin. Finally the boy becomes separated from his father and is obliged to travel the lonely Road utterly alone.

Despite the well-meaning intentions and sincere advice of various adults who help him during this difficult time, Adam clings to one dream only: to find Roger and return to the life he truly loves-that of a minstrel. No clerk's robes or scholar's quill can lure him; no plow or ferry does he care to

handle for life. His fingers long to pluck the strings of his little harp. Can a mere boy wander the highways of Southern England seeking his father and lost dog; can he survive cold, hunger, false accusation, devious plots for his future, and criminal intent successfully? This 1942 Newbery award winner mentions so many terms and customs of the Middle Ages that it could serve as an introduction to Medieval Studies. Historical references include Runnymede and the king's first convocation of the People's Parliament. An entertaining, light read enhanced by interesting black and white illustrations.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1943 Newbery Medal ; interesting tale of medieval England, January 10, 2001
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Hardcover)
So many of today's children know little of true hardship and deprivation. It's good to let them read about what life was like when one traveled on horseback or on foot rather than by wagon or car, when one used candles rather than electric lights, and when one was warmed by a campfire or fire in a hearth rather than by central heat. The detail provided in "Adam of the Road" about the way that young Adam supported himself on a daily basis makes history come alive for the reader. Adam's existence was hand-to-mouth, gritty, and portrayed quite realistically.
SYNOPSIS: Adam Quartermayne, a minstrel's son, travels all over southern England from June, 1294 to April, 1295, first accompanying his father, Roger, and then in search of his dog Nick--and then in search of his father. In the process Adam grows up and becomes more resourceful and self-reliant. Both Roger and his son are honest and believe in working to earn their keep. Adam learns the hard way that most others of the traveling-minstrel profession are unscrupulous. A minstrel named Jankin gambles with Roger and wins Bayard, a retired workhorse, from Roger. When Jankin abuses the animal and makes it lame, he steals Adam's beloved red spaniel for the dog's companionship and for the tricks the dog can perform.
IMPRESSIONS: "Adam of the Road" can certainly serve to teach many positive messages to young readers. Adam's perseverence in the face of discouragement, his courage and positive attitude in the face of failure and disappointment, and his ability to adapt to change are wonderful values that it's important for children to learn to recognize and incorporate into their own characters.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It should be a movie", March 21, 2006
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
That was the exclamation of my 9 year old daughter when we were only halfway through the book. (I read it aloud a chapter at a time.) The story is riveting and completely held the attention of my little videophile. This is an excellent companion to a study of the Middle Ages.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, April 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
If you like action, drama and romance (well not much romance) then you will like "Adam of the Road." The story begins at St.Albans abbey in the June of 1294. When Adam Quartermayne, the son of Roger, the minstrel of Lord De Lisle, gets picks him up at the abbey by his father the adventure begins. Adam's father loses their horse, Bayard, to another minstrel Jankin. Jankin rides Bayard so hard that Bayard becomes lame and Jankin does not want Bayard anymore. In the middle of the night, Jankin steals Nick, Adam's cocker spaniel, and heads out before Adam awakes. Then the case begins taking Adam all over England. I won't tell you anymore about the book other than it is a great book and you should read it!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adam of the Road by: Elizabeth Janet Gray, December 14, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed all the things Adam went through to get Nick back from Jenkin, he was very brave the whole time. I thought that if I was Roger I wouldn't be able to choose to be proud or very worried about Adam. The Ferryman's were really nice to Adam and I was glad they were because Adam needed the help they gave. I didn't like the other minstrels in the story, something was fishy about them from the start. When Andrew stole all the food, I knew trouble was coming. I was almost glad he did because they needed to live and to have the energy to run, but what an idiot.

I didn't like how the book ended, I thought too many loose ends were left untied. I wanted to know what happened with Roger and Adam, it just kind of left them there, and didn't hint at all to what was to become of them. I also wanted to know what happened to Hugh and Margery (along with their 'companions' of course), it seemed as though they could have had many adventrues together and I wanted to hear about them. The book also was very negative and it seemed like there was very few good things happening to Adam.

I also thought that Adam and Margery were going to have a relationship of some sort, but it worked out just as well because they didn't. I liked how Adam found Nick, going back to Dame Malkin's. Perkin seemed to be a good master to Nick at the time he was watching over the dog. Now that I mention his name, Perkin was a really good friend to Adam. They picked up right where they left off when they found eachother again. I think that was a great example of true friendship.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars looked bad but very good, October 27, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
my teacher recently assigned a book talk.it had to be a historical fiction book.that day, i went down to our school library and took out a book that looked good. i started to read it but fell asleep. that happened to me each time i tried. i went back to the library and there were hardly any historical fiction books left so i took "ADAM OF THE ROAD" out. when i showed all my freinds the cover they laughed. i thought it was funny too. i started to read it and it was amazing! i couldnt believe it. after you finish one chapter you just have to read the next. i highly recommend this book. dont judge a book by it's cover.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction for Children to Medieval England, June 30, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) (Paperback)
I bought this book for my daughter. I read it first. It is a good introduction for children to medieval English life, somewhat unrealistic in spots, but nonetheless nicely written. It is just a simple story about a boy, whose faithful dog is stolen, and in his search for the dog, his father Roger the Minstrel loses him. Adam's adventures and misadventures help him learn courage, self-reliance, gratitude,as well as generosity. He learns the value of work, perserverance and friendship. It is a little slow in places, but the story is more about a boy growing up than it is about a boy looking for his dog. The illustrations by Robert Lawson are beautiful and really capture the spirit of the book. In general it's a very good book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 13th Century Road Book, August 22, 2009
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If you're a fan of "road books," (or, as they're more fancifully called, "picaresques"), then ADAM OF THE ROAD should be in your to-be-read pile. The 317 pages -- seemingly too many for a kids' book -- turn like some book in a spring breeze thanks to the ease of its style and the friendliness of its young protagonist, 11-year-old Adam. The boy, a minstrel like his father, Roger, is thoroughly modern in that he loves adventure, dogs, showing off, and being in the thick of the action. This last trait will serve the reader well once Adam gets separated from his father and sees his dog, Nick, snatched. While searching desperately for both, Adam meets all manner of medieval folk, kind and surly, rich and poor, through the rest of the novel. Meanwhile, author Elizabeth Janet Gray embeds details of everyday life in England back then, especially the ins and outs of minstrelsy.

It's hard to believe that young readers would object to such an accessible book, but if it's assigned in class, the length and the slow start (typical of older books, where exposition at a book's beginning was de rigueur) may prove two strikes against it from the get-go. A teacher should also take time to introduce it, share some background information on the history and vocabulary, and finally get it off the ground with some spirited dramatic reading. With all that, I see no reason why kids would NOT enjoy Adam's vicarious friendship as he wanders about England on his quest. Really. It's old-school charming and fun, the type of book we adults read and say, "How did I miss THIS as a kid?" Luckily, for the young at heart, books can take you back to the halcyon days with the greatest of ease. Recommended.
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Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin)
Adam of the Road (Newbery Library, Puffin) by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Paperback - November 1, 1987)
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