FEAST OF FOOLS by Bridget Crowley


Age Range: 11 - 14
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An ungainly and badly paced historical novel that takes too long to get going and then resolves itself in a rush. Sometime near the end of the 13th century at St. Aelred’s, young John is taken in by the choristers. His father, a stonecarver, died in a fall from the scaffolding; John himself is now lame from the stone angel that fell. A nasty older boy named Matthew and unpleasant canons make a hard life miserable, but the golden-haired Hugh becomes his friend and is named the boy bishop for the Feast of Fools. But the meanest of the canons is murdered that night and Hugh disappears. Matthew leads in blaming the Jewish family who live nearby. John is a sturdy and determined character, but he cannot atone for two-dimensional characterizations of boys, peasants, canons, and Jews—pretty much everyone else. A much richer medieval choristers’ tale (albeit in France about 50 years later) is Deborah Ellis’s Company of Fools (not reviewed). (Historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-86512-0
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2003