Review: The Good Master, by Kate Seredy

Kate Seredy's The Good Master with delightful illustrations by the author
Kate Seredy’s The Good Master with delightful illustrations by the author

Thomas and I have been doing a lot of hard thinking and talking about adoption. If you are curious about some of those thoughts, you can find them here.

It seems appropriate that my next book review should be all about a child finding a true family.

The Good Master is a delightful and thought-provoking book written and illustrated by the Newbury Award winner, Kate Seredy. I recently discovered that Seredy has written many books, and illustrated just as prolifically. I hope to write a review at some point of one of my favorite historical fiction books from grade school which she illustrated, called “Smiling Hill Farm”. She also wrote “The White Stag” (reviewed here), “Lazy Tinka” (reviewed here), A Tree for Peter, and several others. She focuses primarily on small children and their growing-up years, and the adults in their lives. She was raised in Eastern Europe, which explains her illustration style and her favored subject matter of old tales of the eastern european countryside.

A young girl comes to live with her Aunt, Uncle, and cousins in the country. She is smart, spoiled, and supposedly sickly. Her cousin, Jancy, can’t believe all of the trouble one girl can cause, and sometimes is roped into the chaos himself. But Jancy’s father is not called The Good Master for nothing. In a tale reminiscent of The Taming of the Shrew, the young cousins learn that family is more than just a household: it is a bond that carries weight, responsibility, and protection, regardless of our previous history.

I would highly recommend this book, especially as a bedtime book, as the antics of the young cousins are sure to please young readers and remind them of the joys of family. Adult readers will also be delighted with the conversations between the characters. Just be aware that young readers might get some ideas of how to approach problems with results that might be close to the antics of the cousins. Enjoy!

Title: The Good Master

Author: Kate Seredy

Illustrator: Kate Seredy

Awards: The Newbury Award

Genre: Young Chapter Book with pictures

Recommended Reader: 8-12 years old

Have you read other Kate Seredy books? Any good books about Eastern Europe? What books remind you of life as a child in your home?


One thought on “Review: The Good Master, by Kate Seredy

  1. The illustrations in the book Smiling Hill Farm are are wonderful and hard to forget…I first read this book in 1952 in the third grade and the pictures for many years stayed on in my mind …They are beautiful! Ms Sereedy’s illustrations are timeless classics…I have my original copy of the book which was first published in 1937 and treasure it…Very few books have illustrations which so perfectly match what is being said in the story …pure genius!…Would like to have another copy of this book so I can have the pictures taken out and framed…They are that good!! Susan Pinke RN

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