This is the Newbery winner for this year and what a delight to read! It is a very quick read, almost like a picture book even. Many people actually were discussing this book before the awards were given out as a possibility, but most people thought it had too many illustrations, so the committee wouldn't pick it. But they did, and I think it is a really great choice.
The story is a series of short vignettes written to be performed, actually, but certainly they don't need to be performed. Each little vignette takes one character from a fictional medieval town and tells a little piece of his or her story. The stories are interwoven a little bit, but can certainly stand alone. The author also intersperses lots of footnotes - sidenotes in this case, really - explaining medieval terms and roles, which I found to be very helpful. And she has four or five short sections that are non-fiction interwoven into the text as well. Plus there are the awesome illustrations done by Robert Byrd.
This book was written by a school librarian who had students who were really into their study of the Middle Ages. She wanted to write a play for them, but non one wanted a small part so this was what she came up with! SO much fun!
I've ordered it for the WOMS library, but in the meantime, it's available at Multnomah County Libraries. Happy reading!