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The Witch of Blackbird Pond [Paperback]

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Item Number 71697  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.4" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 15, 1972
Publisher   Yearling
ISBN  0440495962  
EAN  9780440495963  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Now an orphan, Kit Tyler travels from Barbados, where she grew up, to live with her strict Puritan uncle in Connecticut.

Publishers Description
Kit Tyler must leave behind shimmering Caribbean islands to join the stern Puritan community of her relatives. She soon feels caged, until she meets the old woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond. But when their friendship is discovered, Kit herself is accused of witchcraft!
"Strong plot, fully realized characters and convincing atmosphere distinguish this historical narrative of a girl whose rebellion against bigotry and her Puritan surroundings culminates in a witch hunt and trial."--Booklist.
Elizabeth George Speare was also the author of the Newbery Honor Book The Sign of the Beaver.

From the Paperback edition.
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. Kit Tyler had been on the forecastle deck since daybreak, standing close to the rail, staring hungrily at the first sight of land for five weeks.

"There's Connecticut Colony," a voice spoke in her ear . "You've come a long way to see it."

She looked up, surprised and flattered. On the whole long voyage the captain's son had spoken scarcely a dozen words to her, She had noticed him often, his thin wiry figure swinging easily hand over hand up the rigging, his sandy, sun-bleached head bent over a coil of rope. Nathaniel Eaton, first mate, but his mother called him Nat. Now, seeing him so close beside her, she was surprised that, for all he looked so slight, the top of her head barely reached his shoulder.

"How does it look to you?" he questioned.

Kit hesitated. She didn't want to admit how disappointing she found this first glimpse of America. The bleak line of shore surrounding *the gray harbor was a disheartening contrast to the shimmering green and white that fringed the turquoise bay of Barbados which was her home. The earthen wall of the fortification that faced the river was bare and ugly, and the houses beyond were no more than plain wooden boxes.

"Is that Wethersfield?" she inquired instead.

"Oh, no, Wethersfield is some way up the river. This is the port of Saybrook. Home to us Eatons. There's my father's shipyard, just beyond the dock."

She could just make out the row of unimpressive shacks and the flash of raw new lumber. Her smile was admiring from pure relief. At least this grim place was not her destination, and surely the colony at Wethersfield would prove more inviting.

"We've made good time this year," Nat went on. "It's been a fair passage, hasn't it?"

"Oh, yes," she sparkled. "Though I'm glad now 'tis over."

"Aye," he agreed. "I never know myself which is best, the setting out or the coming back to harbor. Ever been on a ship before?"

"Just the little pinnaces in the islands. I've sailed' on those all my life."

He nodded. "That's where you learned to keep your balance."

So he had noticed! To her pride, she had proved to be a natural sailor. Certainly she had not spent the voyage groaning and retching like some of the passengers.

"You're not afraid of the wind and the salt, anyway. At least, you haven't spent much time below."

"Not if I could help it," she laughed. Did he think anyone would stay in that stuffy cabin by choice? Would she ever have had the courage to sail at all had she known, before she booked passage, that the sugar and molasses -in the hold had been paid for by a load of Connecticut horses, and that all the winds of the Atlantic could never blow the ship clean of that unbearable stench? "That's what I minded most about the storm," she added, "four days shut away down there with the deadlights up."

"Were you scared?"

"Scared to death. Especially when the ship stood right on end, and the water leaked under the cabin door. But now I wouldn't have missed it for anything. 'Twas the most exciting thing I ever knew."

His face lighted with admiration, but all for the ship. "She's a stout one, the Dolphin," he said "She's come through many a worse blow than that." His eyes dwelt fondly on the topsails.

"What is happening?" Kit asked, noting the sudden activity along the deck, -Four husky sailors in blue jackets and bright kerchiefs had hurried forward to man the capstan bars. Captain Eaton, in his good blue coat, was shouting orders from the quarterdeck. "Are we stopping here?"

"There are passengers to go ashore," Nat explained. "And we need food and water for the trip upriver. But we've missed the tide, and the wind is blowing too hard from the west for us to make the landing. We're going to anchor out here and take the longboat in to shore. That means I'd better look to the oars." He swung away, moving lightly and confidently; there was a bounce in his step that matched the laughter in his eyes.
With dismay, Kit saw the captain's wife among the passengers preparing to disembark. Must she say goodbye so soon to to Mistress Eaton? They had shared the bond of being the only two women aboard the Dolphin and the older woman had been sociable and kindly. Now, catching Kit's eye, she came hurrying along the deck.

"Are you leaving the ship, Mistress Eaton?" Kit greeted her wistfully.

"Aye, didn't I tell you I'd be leaving you at Say brook? But don't look so sad, child. 'Tis not far to Wethersfield, and we'll be meeting again."

"But I thought the Dolphin was your home!"

"In the wintertime it is, when we sail to the West Indies. But I was born in Saybrook, and in the spring I get to hankering for my house and garden. Besides,, l'd never let on to my husband, but the summer trips are tedious, just back and forth up and down the river. I stay at home and tend my vegetables and my spinning like a proper housewife. Then, come November, when he sails for Barbados again, I'm ready enough to. go with him. 'Tis a good life, and one of the best things about it is coming home in the springtime.

Kit glanced again -- at the forbidding shore. She could see nothing about it to put such a twinkle of anticipation in anyone's eye. Could there be some charm that was not visible from out here in the harbor? She spoke on a sudden impulse.

Buy The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780440495963 & 0440495962

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More About Elizabeth George Speare

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Elizabeth George Speare is widely known and admired by readers of all ages for her outstanding historical novels. She received the Newbery Medal for both The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow. Her book The Sign of the Beaver was a Newbery Honor award-winner and is available on audio from Listening Library.

Elizabeth George Speare was born in 1938.

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1Books > Subjects > Children's Books > Authors & Illustrators, A-Z > ( S ) > Speare, Elizabeth George   [13  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A dark chapter for witches of Hogwarts  Aug 21, 2007
First read it in 8th grade about 20 years ago in reading class. The teacher was a blonde Jewish hottie about 5'6"" in her early twenties named Miss Fee. The book is great by itself, but taught by a good looking teacher makes it even better.
Very Mature Youth Novel  Aug 6, 2007
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed and it is very descriptive. I think the message is very insightful, and I also enjoyed the love story. I would recommend this book for an older child and even adults!
Do not miss!  Jul 24, 2007
The message is even more important now as we continue to vilify those who seem different. A fascinating look into the mindset of the people who created the Salem witch trials. (Follow up with "The Crucible") Also a feminist tale.
Young women will relate best to this story. Images and names stick with me still, 30 years later.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond  Jun 6, 2007
The book Witch of Black Bird Pond was an adventurous book as well as a bit of romance. It was about a girl who travels to America to find family to live with since her family died. She ends up finding them and they are taken by surprise by some things she can and can not do. As well as thing she posses like, beautiful dresses and money. She needs to help on their farm but is not used to that so she runs off only to find a little house in a meadow of flowers about a mile away from where she lives now and the lady walks up to her, the one from the little house. She returns home and they become pals but many believe that she is a witch. What happens in the end, read the book to find out.

I loved the book! It is probably a ten (10) and older book, and a book for adults too. It is an exciting book because who knows what a response or action will be next. I would rate The Witch of Black Bird Pond a five star (*****) book for its simply wonderful story. It's a book I would recommend but mostly for girls who love a bit of romance but mostly adventure.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond  May 6, 2007
ISBN 0440495962 - Excellent, well written book for ages 12 and up, Witch is more likely to appeal to girls. This book has enough romance to make it unappealing to some, but it deserves the Newbery Award it won in 1959.

Kit Tyler was orphaned years before, but it is only now that she feels like an orphan - her grandfather, Sir Francis Tyler, a well-off plantation owner on Barbados, has died and Kit finds out that all he's left behind is mountainous debt. His entire estate is sold off to pay those debts and Kit's own slave has to be sold, as well, to finance her journey to Connecticut. There, her mother's only sister, beautiful Rachel, lives with her family. She befriends Nat Eaton, the captain's son, but fails to tell him that her family isn't expecting her. He is surprised by their surprise, when Kit shows up on their doorstep, where they part ways. Kit, too, gets a surprise, when she finds that her aunt, once a great beauty, is a somewhat worn, plain woman. Clearly her life has changed her.

It takes some time for Kit to get accustomed to the ways of her aunt's family, who are Puritans (Kit had even disparagingly referred to them as "Roundheads" while still on the boat). Their simple life of hard work is a harsh existence with little joy and Kit misses much about her old life. Still, she has no one else and tries to learn to do the chores she is given to the best of her ability. When William Ashby, a young man of some means, begins to court her, Kit realizes that he might be the best chance she has to escape from the drudgery of her life under Uncle Matthew's roof. Judith, Kit's cousin, had previously set her sights on William, but when he favors Kit, she turns her attention to John Holbrook, a budding clergyman. Judith is unaware that her crippled sister, Mercy, has fallen in love with John and even less aware that John also loves Mercy.

While the prospect of escape via marriage to William is in the future, Kit lives in the present, becoming friendly with Hannah, an elderly Quaker woman who lives alone on the shore of Blackbird Pond. The townspeople believe her to be a witch, mostly because she isn't Puritan. Consorting with Hannah doesn't do much to improve Kit's standing in the town, but she laughs off the idea of herself or anyone being a witch - until they lock her up and put her on trial. Her friendships with Nat and Prudence pay off in a big way, when they appear at the trial, but Nat runs before she can thank him - and before she realizes that it is Nat that she really loves.

As a teen or pre-teen, this book would not have impressed me much, and I'd have found the romance gag-worthy. Everyone ends up with the guy they should end up with and all, it is implied, live happily ever after. As an adult, however, I really enjoyed the story. The prejudice of the time, not unlike the prejudice of ANY time period, was interesting. To read that the ability to swim was an indication that one was a witch is funny now, but a nice bit of irony for the time - the only way to prove your innocence was to die by drowning! Not perfect, and a little more "historical romance" than plain old "historical fiction", but still very nicely done.

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