Title: The Good Master
Author: Kate Seredy
Major Themes: Family Life, Farming, Hungary
Synopsis: When her father can’t handle her anymore, he sends Kate to live with his brother on the family farm in rural, pre-World War I Hungary.
I can’t remember how many times I have read The Good Master by now, but I loved reading it aloud this time, again, to my appreciative audience! This story of a wild, selfish girl learning to think of others is wonderful.
Jancsi was very excited. His cousin from Budapest was coming to live with his family on their large farm in the countryside of Hungary. She had had the measles and was delicate; her father wanted her to regain her health on the farm. What a shock when this “delicate” cousin turned out to be an absolute terror!You will laugh, as we did, when Kate was found after disappearing her first evening on the farm. You will also sympathize with Jancsi as his world is turned upside down by the whirlwind known as Kate!
As the summer went on, Kate’s respect for Uncle Marton, Jancsi’s father, grew, and soon she wanted to do whatever would please him. The adventures continued, however. You’ll have to read the story to find out how Kate was kidnapped by the Gypsies and how she got free. And then there was the time she created chaos at the sideshow when the family visited the circus!
This is a wonderful story about a loving family in Hungary just before World War I broke out. One thing that added to our reading was when I remembered that we have a National Geographic magazine from 1914 which contains an article about Hungary, and contains many photographs of the people of the country. The clothes that Jancsi and Kate were described as wearing are shown in that article, from the sheepskin coats to the baggy trousers and the women’s dresses with their dozen petticoats!
WARNING: I noticed gee used once, chapter 3, page 46, and confounded is in chapter 9, page 126. Otherwise, all I objected to was a couple of stories told by shepherds. Chapter 6 includes a fairy story in which someone puts a charm on someone else. Chapter 7 retells a myth with spirit warriors in it.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15