Reviews for The Inquisitors Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

by Adam Gidwitz>

Publishers Weekly
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In 1242 France, weary travelers at an inn trade stories about three miraculous children and their dog, Gwenforte, who has returned from the dead. The children-Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future; William, an oblate of partial African heritage with uncanny strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy with the power to heal the sick and injured-are the subject of much rumor and debate. Are they saints, frauds, or in league with the devil? Gidwitz (the Grimm trilogy) continues to toy with narrative in a well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past. Evoking the oral storytelling traditions of the time, multiple characters including a nun, troubadour, and brewer alternately describe their encounters with the children to produce the whole story. Amid mugs upon mugs of ale, the tale that comes into focus is one of religious persecution and faith, friendships that transcend difference, and a dangerously flatulent dragon-Gidwitz continues to have no problem mixing high and low. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Gidwitz leaves the fairy-tale realm of his Grimm trilogy behind and plunges into medieval France to tell the incredible story of three gifted children, a holy greyhound, and the people whose lives they touch. It is a time of miracles and saints, of fiends and dragons, all of which Gidwitz has meticulously teased from legends and histories of the Middle Ages. The story is relayed in the style of The Canterbury Tales, as travelers gathered at an inn share what they know of the children: Jeanne, a peasant girl with visions of the future; William, an African oblate with incredible strength; Jacob, a Jewish boy with healing powers; not to mention Gwenforte, their guardian greyhound. Religion lies at the book's heart, as Jewish and Christian beliefs come into conflict and the children's potential for sainthood is debated. It also triggers an act of defiance against the king that makes the miraculous threesome the most wanted people in France. Ten different narrators lend their voices to the tale including a brewster, nun, butcher, librarian, and troubadour while drinking a fair amount of ale, resulting in a boisterous, conversational tone. Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure. Though final artwork was unseen, the book will be fittingly illuminated with illustrations and marginalia. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The work put into the physical book should tell you the publisher's belief in best-seller Gidwitz's latest. Also: the national tour, the floor display, and all that.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist


School Library Journal
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Gr 4-8-A hodgepodge of different narrators in 1242 France introduce readers to three unusual children and one remarkable dog. As their individual stories unfold and their paths collide, tension reaches a fever pitch as an agent of the Inquisition nips at their heels. Gidwitz's epic medieval adventure packs in boisterous action, richly depicted history, and lovable underdog characters, all illuminated by Aly's stunning artwork. The Middle Ages have never been as exciting or as funny. Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 5-10-What is a miracle? Is a miracle what happens when, faced with murderous bandits, a teenage monk rips a leg off his donkey, beats them to death with it, then restores the donkey's leg? Or is it a miracle when a cranky innkeeper is so moved by a little girl's friendliness that he risks his life to help her and her companions flee a posse of armed knights? Maybe the real miracle happens when readers attracted to the action and violence a particular author is known for find themselves strongly invested in the moral questions that plague bandit-killing monk and friendly peasant girl alike-along with every other character they encounter, from a young minstrel/pickpocket to Louis IX. Gidwitz's tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heart-stopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great wood chippers of history-the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start. It is left to the titular Inquisitor to discover the truth behind the legends that quickly rise to surround these kids. He nudges it from each of the travelers at a roadside inn, the narrative tension rising as each facet is revealed. VERDICT This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader's appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, and the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 5-8-The year is 1242; the setting: a roadside inn on the outskirts of a small French town. Travelers from all corners of France share what they know about the country's most notorious outlaws: a group of three children and their dog. Jeanne is a peasant girl able to see the future. William is a young monk with unusual physical strength and intelligence. Jacob is a Jewish boy who possesses powerful healing abilities. The final member of the group is Gwenforte, the holy greyhound. These unlikely friends find themselves on the run from monks, demons, dragons, knights, and the king of France himself as they try to escape persecution and save religious books from being burned. Each traveler who is gathered at the inn recounts a different piece of the children's story, creating a Canterbury Tales-like narrative structure. The audiobook is voiced by a cast of nine narrators, each telling a different character's part of the tale. Gidwitz himself voices the character of the Inquisitor. Thirteenth-century music and vocals by a renowned medieval musician bring the troubadour's part of the novel to life. An author's note at the end of the production shares the background research Gidwitz did to create this story and includes details about what parts of the tale are based on actual medieval history and which parts are fiction. VERDICT Mixing history and adventure, religion and humor, Gidwitz breathes new life into the Middle Ages and makes this time period accessible and exciting for middle grade listeners.-Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In thirteenth-century France, peasant Jeanne has visions of the future; William, illegitimate son of a crusader knight and an African "Saracen," has supernatural strength; Jacob, a learned Jewish boy, has healing powers. Together they try to thwart King Louis's plan to burn all the Jewish texts in France. An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints' lives, the Joan of Arc legend, and elements of The Canterbury Tales. Bib. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In 1242 France, weary travelers at an inn exchange stories of their encounters with a group of three children accompanied by their dog who are set to be brought before the king for the threat they pose. The story is framed as an inquisition, with an agent of the king serving as the main narrator and questioning the travelers to discern the true nature of the children, who are rumored to have magical abilities. The structure lends itself clearly to the audio format, with one narrator acting as the interviewer while more than a half-dozen others take up the rest of the characters sharing the tales of these adventurers. It's more entertaining with multiple voices and it brings the conversational elements of the story to the forefront, but not always seamlessly; there are points in this production when it sounds as if the actors were all recorded separately and the dialogue pieced together later. Still, the variety of voice actors at work plays well with the story and makes for a lively listening experience. Ages 10-up. A Dutton hardcover. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.