The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Karen Cushman, Elizabeth George Speare The novel's opening pages introduces us to sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler, who is traveling from her native island of Barbados to live with her aunt in Puritan New England. She's a bird of colorful plumage finding herself among crows, an outsider before she ever steps on the shores of 1687 Connecticut. As with another outsider, the Quaker Hannah Tupper, there are soon rumors Kit's a witch. One review complains Kit is basically a modern girl, and there's truth to that. But her outsider status does allow her to cast plausibly critical eyes on her surroundings. We never see her Barbados, but Speare makes Kit's memories of her island home so vivid I remembered its description of turquoise skies and water and vivid greens so well I could have sworn part of the book was set there. The book's message, never heavy-handed, of tolerance still resonates today, and I ended my reread with a smile. This is shelved in the Juvenile Reading section for the Seven to 12-year old set. The rating is a compromise between my adult and child selves. Even as an adult I did like it, although no doubt I read it through a nostalgic haze, but certainly as a child I loved it. The novel doesn't have the literary quality, imagination or whimsey that could charm even an adult reader first encountering children's books by Louisa May Alcott, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Laura Wilder, Mark Twain, Jack London, C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman, JK Rowling or Neil Gaiman. This isn't a book of first rank in children's literature, but rereading it reminded me why I did once love this. As a child this was one of my introductions to the fascinating world of historical fiction. So even though no, I wouldn't recommend this to adults... Well, if you know a young girl who loves to read, this would be a great choice as a gift.