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Wise Child Mass Market Paperback – November 18, 1989


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 980L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (November 18, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394825985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394825984
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this exciting, well-written fantasy, the setting (Britain in the Dark Ages) is as much a character as Wise Child and her guardian Juniper. Orphaned by the death of her grandmother and her sailor-father's disappearance, Wise Child chooses to become the ward of Juniper, the village wisewoman who is healer, midwife and witch. Under Juniper's kind but stern tutelage, Wise Child thrives, learning herb lore, reading and basic survival in those difficult times. Wise Child manages to live between the Churchrepresented by the grim village priestand the witchcraft that Juniper would have her learn. This delicate balance is destroyed by the coming of Maeve, Wise Child's mother, who had abandoned her. Her evil awakens the real power of Wise Child as well as the superstitions of the village, rendering the trial of Juniper for witchcraft inevitable. Self-realization enables Wise Child to save both herself and Juniper in an exciting climax. Though the ending may strike some as too easy, this is an intriguing portrayal of an ancient way of life, and Wise Child is an engaging heroine. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8 Wise Child's life takes a new direction when her grandmother dies; her parents are both gone and in all the poverty-stricken village there is no one willing to take her inexcept Juniper, a mysterious healer from Cornwall who lives alone and has decidedly heterodox ideas about the place and purpose of women. Wise Child is self-centered and headstrong, but under Juniper's cheerful tutelage she begins to see herself as part of a world large enough for a liberated view and for magic too; Juniper's an expert witch, a hybrid combination of natural scientist and traditional broom-rider. Wise Child is quickly initiated into the secret arts. Juniper is both too modern and too perfect for the story. She has little difficulty coping with a Good Witch's usual enemies (an evil sorceress and a mob of fearful peasants egged on by the local priest), always arrives in the nick of time to rescue Wise Child, and shows never a trace of fear, impatience, or superstition. When, her many good deeds forgotten, she is about to be burned at the stake, she escapes with Wise Child, and the two find their way to the Isles of the Blessed. Readers may be intrigued both by the characters and by this revisionist view of witchcraft, although they will find a more realistic and involving exploration of it in Margaret Mahy's The Changeover (Macmillan, 1984). John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The characters are very unique and compelling.
N. Burt
I really love Monica Furlong's books, both Juniper and Wise Child.
AuntBunny
I thoroughly recommend this book to girls ages 8 and up.
C.P.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wise Child is a beautifully written book for younger readers. It contains colourful historical detail and paints a vivid picture of the magical, mystical story of a childs life with a solitary witch or 'Doran'. Wise Child becomes orphaned and in the village auction it is decided that she should live with the local wise woman, Juniper, whom the villagers rely on in times of sickness. However the local Priest, Fillan, has the power to turn the villagers against Juniper in a time when suspected witches were often tortured and killed... It is obvious that the beliefs/cultures included in this book have been well researched, understood and brought to life by Furlong. Of all the books I have ever read, I can truly say that Wise Child is my favourite. I have read this book four times and am now 16 - too old for it really but the story and setting is so rare that I can only hope Furlong will write an adult version for me. Five Stars for a book which has provided much enjoyment as well as influencing my own views and interests through the years.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To begin, I direct you to the original cover. Let's take a gander at the beauty of this cover, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, it's beyond beautiful. It's stunning. Two women, one grown and one small, gaze coolly at the viewer. They are surrounded by the elements of their trade, namely herbs with a pistle & morter. I salute the cover artist in this case. Both characters are unaccountably and undeniably right.

Wise Child lives in an early Scottish community. Her mother left her long ago and her father is a shipman, ever away at sea. When her grandmother dies of old age, Wise Child is nine years old and utterly alone in the world. Taken in by the local witch, Wise Child is initially reluctant to live with someone potentially evil. In time, however, she comes to love her guardian, Juniper, and the two become close. Even as Wise Child's mother, an evil sorceress, lays claim on her child and the villagers grow restless at having a witch in such close proximity the two stick together. This is a story about finding the person who loves you and bearing with them through thick and thin. It's about love.

Furlong's an elegant writer, and this was an amazingly well wrought tale. Juniper is almost without fault, though she is by no means unlikable because of her perfection. Certainly I felt the woman's hands off approach towards raising a willful child was a little bizarre. Juniper is almost never angry with the initially spoiled Wise Child, and one has to wonder what a less well-behaved tyke would have done in her place. Wise Child herself is entirely human and full of the kind of flaws that make her real and interesting. She's rarely in complete control of any situation, but she knows her own mind. The book itself is very appropriate for younger viewers.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Ordonez on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Then you would have to hold this one to your heart and have an all out debate with yourself it you could part with it. This story never gets old. No matter how many times you read it, there is always a phrase, a sentence, a moment where you are taken to another place and you feel love. Thank you Monica Furlong for such a gift.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really regret not being in the age group this book was written for when it first came out. Think of all the extra years of dreams and imaginations it could have inspired! I'm sure _Wise Child_ would have become one of those very few books that I read until the bindings fell apart, then had to buy a fresh copy as an adult. As it was, I didn't run across the book until I was "all grown up", but that didn't stop me from loving it immediately, nor from buying a copy for my best friend.

When Wise Child's grandmother dies, she is taken in by Juniper, a very wise and gentle woman who is rumored to be a witch. In truth, Juniper is a *doran*, a person who takes her power from the natural world and works magic only for the good of all. With Juniper, Wise Child learns the ways of such magic, and begins to understand her own inner powers. Then the black sorceress Maeve appears...

Magic and adventure is written into _Wise Child_'s every line. But there's a lot of wisdom too. Tolerance for diversity is a big theme, as well as respect for nature. And Juniper is about as good a role model as a young woman can ask for. If you're a parent, buy this book for your child and borrow it when they're not looking-- there's a lot in it; you won't regret it. If you're a kid, trust me, this book really is worth spending your allowance on. (You'll want to make sure your flashlight has extra batteries.) And for everyone else who loves a good fantasy, _Wise Child_ is as good as it gets. I hope you'll give it a try.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Juushika on August 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of my favorite books from my childhood and still a joy to reread, Wise Child is the story of one magical child's coming of age. Spoiled but abandoned at a young age, Wise Child is taken in my a woman named Juniper. Juniper lives apart from the small, poor Christian village that Wise Child comes from, and she is a fair but tough mentor, making Wise Child work hard and learn much. In her house on a hill, Juniper teaches Wise Child languages, math, and astronomy, how to grow, harvest, and use herbs, and how to heal the sick in the village below. Slowly, Juniper begins to initiate Wise Child into the way of a doran, a class of magical women who live in the rhythm of nature and use their magic to help those around them. Wise Child's powers blossom, but dark shadows hang over her peaceful life with Juniper: her beautiful, powerful, dangerous mother calls to her from afar, and the close-minded town threatens their safety up on the hill. The book is a magical story of the hard work of coming of age and the love and power than can result from it. Wise Child must find confidence in herself, faith in her future and her powers, and love for her others in order to grow, creating a life-affirming, strong, true message. Furlong's writing style is smooth, her characters are easy to identity with and to love, and the magic in her story is both realistic and exciting. I highly recommend this book to readers of all age groups, and I love coming back to it myself.

The best thing that a coming of age story can do is show us not only the trails and tribulations of adolescence but also the good things about it and the wonders that we reap from it. This book does exactly that.
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