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The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Collins Modern Classics) [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Elizabeth George Speare
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Sep 2011 Collins Modern Classics

Witch trials in seventeeth-century Connecticut – a Newbery-Medal winning classic.

Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Kit's unconventional background and high-spirited ways immediately clash with the Puritanical lifestyle of her uncle's household, and despite her best efforts to adjust, it seems Kit will never win the favour of those around her.

Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place, and just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit's friendship with old Hannah Tupper, who is believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined, and ultimately Kit is forced to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare's Newbery Medal-winning novel portrays the life of a girl uprooted from her birthplace and yet unbound by the suppression of her new home, a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.


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The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Collins Modern Classics) + Island of the Blue Dolphins (Puffin Books) + Number the Stars (Essential Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; New Ed edition (9 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007148976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007148974
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,495,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Forced to leave her sunny Caribbean home for the bleak Connecticut Colony, Kit Tyler is filled with trepidation. As they sail up the river to Kit's new home, the teasing and moodiness of a young sailor named Nat doesn't help. Still, her unsinkable spirit soon bobs back up. What this spirited teenager doesn't count on, however, is how her aunt and uncle's stern Puritan community will view her. In the colonies of 1687, a girl who swims, wears silk and satin gowns, and talks back to her elders is not only headstrong, she is in grave danger of being regarded as a witch. When Kit befriends an old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, it is more than the ascetics can take: soon Kit is defending her life. Who can she count on as she confronts these angry and suspicious townspeople?

A thoroughly exciting and rewarding Newbery Medal winner and ALA Notable Children's Book, Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond brings this frightening period of witch hysteria to life. Readers will wonder at the power of the mob mentality, and the need for communities in desperate times--even current times--to find a scapegoat. --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A thoroughly exciting and rewarding Newbery Medal winner and ALA Notable Children's Book, Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond brings this frightening period of witch hysteria to life. Readers will wonder at the power of the mob mentality, and the need for communities in desperate times – even current times – to find a scapegoat.”
amazon.com

“Strong plot, fully realized characters, and convincing atmosphere distinguish this historical narrative.”
Booklist


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First Sentence
ON A MORNING in mid-April, 1687, the brigantine Dolphin left the open sea, sailed briskly across the Sound to the wide mouth of the Connecticut River and into Saybrook harbor. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bewitching Story for Kids of All Ages 30 Oct 2003
By Mark Baker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
It's April of 1687 when Kit Tyler steps on shore in Connecticut. Having recently lost her grandfather, she's come to the colonies to live with her uncle and aunt. But her new town is completely different from her old life in Barbados. Not only does she have to do the chores she used to have servants do, but her Puritan relatives are much stricter then her previous upbringing has taught her to be.
But her life isn't all bad. There is the interest William, the most eligible bachelor in town, has shown in her. And there's the refuge she's managed to find in Hannah, the town outcast suspected of being a witch. But will she ever truly adjust to her new life?
I found this book in Jr. High, and have read it four or five times since then. I recently reread it again, and was completely drawn into the story. I couldn't put it down, and I already knew how it ended. The characters are sympathetic and interesting, especially Kit. You can help but root for her to find some happiness in her new life. The plot is engrossing, with several sub-plots expertly woven through the book. And the time and place of the setting is brought to life in such an amazing way it feels like you are actually in the town of Wethersfield.
This book is so engrossing that anyone will love it. And the theme about judging others will stick with you long after you've read the last page. I can not recommend this book highly enough. Ms. Speare is an excellent author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WELL TOLD TALE 16 Aug 2002
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Awarded the Newbery Medal and named an ALA Notable Children's Book, "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" is obviously an award winner. Another sure to be award winner is film and television actress Mary Beth Hurt who presents an exemplary reading of this story of a courageous young girl facing down the prejudices of Puritan New England.
An orphan, Kit Tyler has a sense of foreboding as she views the unforgiving shores of Connecticut Colony where she will make her new home. She does have physical shelter but she is very much alone, yearning for the Caribbean Islands where she once lived.
Kit finds release in the meadows where she befriends and is befriended by an old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond.
However, Kit's amity with the woman stirs a cauldron of suspicion and recrimination - Kit is accused of witchcraft.
This is a well told tale that documents a sad portion of our history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down! 18 May 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
i loved this book! this is one of my all-time favorite books. the main character is a girl, Kit, who has to come live with her relatives, and after living a free life in the caribean, finds herself trapped with this new society and strange traditions. She only feels free in the company of an old widow, who is harmless. but others think this woman is a witch, and soon they think Kit is one too! the plot is amazing and grabs your attention. i reccomend it to anyone looking for a good book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars children's classic 8 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is superbly written, keeps the interest of the children and teaches them about the settlers of the US and how the communities looked with suspicion upon outsiders. There are several themes carried through the book allowing for lots of discussion and thought about the issues eg. witchcraft, differences, puritan beliefs, group mentality, survival, power over others, independence of thought and what the cost of that might be. Many of these themes can be picked up in other classic books for children such as Carrie's War and Esperanza Rising.

The writing is clear yet intelligent, no dumbing-down to children here, and the depictions of the town and the various locations are realistically written.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  757 reviews
101 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bewitching Story for Kids of All Ages 30 Oct 2003
By Mark Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's April of 1687 when Kit Tyler steps on shore in Connecticut. Having recently lost her grandfather, she's come to the colonies to live with her uncle and aunt. But her new town is completely different from her old life in Barbados. Not only does she have to do the chores she used to have servants do, but her Puritan relatives are much stricter then her previous upbringing has taught her to be.
But her life isn't all bad. There is the interest William, the most eligible bachelor in town, has shown in her. And there's the refuge she's managed to find in Hannah, the town outcast suspected of being a witch. But will she ever truly adjust to her new life?
I found this book in Jr. High, and have read it four or five times since then. I recently reread it again, and was completely drawn into the story. I couldn't put it down, and I already knew how it ended. The characters are sympathetic and interesting, especially Kit. You can help but root for her to find some happiness in her new life. The plot is engrossing, with several sub-plots expertly woven through the book. And the time and place of the setting is brought to life in such an amazing way it feels like you are actually in the town of Wethersfield.
This book is so engrossing that anyone will love it. And the theme about judging others will stick with you long after you've read the last page. I can not recommend this book highly enough. Ms. Speare is an excellent author.
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction for young and old 7 July 2005
By K. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is set in Connecticut in the late 1600s. It tells the story of Kit Tyler, a 16-year-old girl who sails from Barbados to Connecticut after her grandfather passes away. Kit travels to Connecticut to live with her aunt and her aunt's family, none of who have met her and who do not know that she is coming. Connecticut was a Puritan community struggling for independence from England at this time and the culture shock is difficult for Kit, who grew up affluent and independent. The townspeople are not very welcoming to her and some believe to fear that she is a witch because she is different from them. Kit's troubles get worse when she becomes friends with an old Quaker woman people called the Witch of Blackbird Pond.

I would recommend this book for ages 10 and up. Most children have felt like they didn't fit in at some point and will be able to relate to Kit. This book teaches children about tolerance, acceptance, and not being judgmental. I would use this book in a school setting as part of a social studies curriculum. It is appropriate for discussions about witch trials, Puritan history, and Connecticut history. I would also recommend this book for pleasure reading.
77 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had to finish it in one night. 28 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although I am well past the age this book is intended for, I must say this is one of the finest pieces of historical fiction I have ever read.
One of the favorite books of my youth was "Calico Captive" which was also written by Elizabeth George Speare. Recently, in a fit of nostalgia, I purchased "Calico Captive" and, on a whim, I also grabbed "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" simply because it was by the same author and also set in colonial times. I felt I could use some light, escapist reading material in order to take a break from my usual heavy fare of military history books.
Anyway I started to read "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" at around 9:30 in the evening. At 2AM, I finished it. I couldn't put it down! After the first few chapters the book becomes a real page turner. I had to find out what would happen next. Would Kit ever adapt to the austere life of the Puritans? How would the situation with Prudence Cruff pan out? Would Kit marry William? Would John marry the girl he truly loved? Would Uncle Matthew ever soften? And, of course, what would happen if the Puritans found out about Kit's friendship with a suspected witch? I was just blown away by this book- one of the enjoyable reading experiences I have had in a long time.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, What else Can I Say 6 May 2009
By B. Wolinsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Witch of Blackbird Pond may be a work of fiction, but there are many parables with modern life. It's about a white girl, from the sunny West Indies, who moves to the cold, unwelcoming colonies in New England. Her uncle, a Puritan, reluctantly takes her in. Though they treat her as good as as their own children, they're clearly not happy to have her. For starters, the Puritans are serious people, and she's used to play and leisure. The Puritans are austere and Spartan, while she's used to flamboyant luxury. The family's life is preoccupied with hunting, farming, cooking, and cleaning; the kind of stuff one has to do in order to eat. She, however, comes from a wealthy family and has never even cooked for herself.

But she learns. The family are Puritans after all, and it's their duty to teach her self-sufficiency. Soon she settles into the routine, cooking meals, cleaning, and teaching young children to read.

But Puritan life comes with a problem. The people believe in the existence of witches, and anybody who appears unusual is a suspect. Hannah, a kindly old woman who lives alone, was once a suspected witch. She has a scar on her face as a reminder of how she suffered under the Puritans' paranoia. Worse, she's a Quaker, and the Quakers are despised by the Puritans.

Faced with an inquisition-like investigation, she faces the harshness of the Colonial laws of the time. Judge's decisions are not based on codified laws, but on the religious and social mores and norms. Every single good thing she's done since arriving is suspected as an act of witchcraft and subversion.

But there is hope. As with today's legal system, success depends on getting the right advocate! Will the townspeople stand up for her and denounce the witch hunts, or will she be tortured by religious hysteria?
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A FASCINATING TALE! 25 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A witch? Someone thinks you are a witch? When Kit leaves Barbados on the lovely Dolphin ship to live in America with her Uncle, she is unprepared for what she encounters. What a surprise when she discovers that being able to read, swim, wear fancy clothes, as well as befriending a kind old woman is odd behavior for this town. In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Spears sends you on a reading adventure. The story includes a number of surprising and suspenseful events including a frightening witch hunt and a big outcry among some angry villagers against their government. Some parts of the story are a little boring, but the elaborate language and unpredictable moments bring you right back into the book. The climax of this book is the best part. It's unbeleivable and exciting. The main character, Kit, is very interesting. You will feel like you know her only after reading a few pages. Fiesty, wise, and stubborn are some of Kit's personality traits. You will also become very familiar with many of the other characters including Kit's two cousins, her Aunt and Uncle, Nat a seaman, and John and William two very interesting men, plus many more! This book has many hidden lessons in it. It teaches you about friendship, trust, bravery, genorosity, and happiness, It will fill you with sorrow and joy, and is a very adventurous story loved by many!
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