Adam of the Road

by Elizabeth Janet Gray

Other authorsRobert Lawson (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2006



Local notes

PB Gra




Puffin Books (2006), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 320 pages


The adventures of eleven-year-old Adam as he travels the open roads of thirteenth-century England searching for his missing father, a minstrel, and his stolen red spaniel, Nick.


Newbery Medal (Medal Winner — 1943)


Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
This one's a short tale about Adam, a minstrel's son, living in medieval England. When the story opens, he is boarding at an abbey. His father, having secured a position with Sir Edmund de Lisle, comes to fetch him and goes to spend time at Sir Edmund's court. Come July, Adam and his father set off
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on the road, and Adam gets an experience of the life of a traveling minstrel. The trip provides a coming-of-age for him, as he experiences the challenges of life on the road and some temptations to choose another profession and lifestyle. It's not the greatest of books, containing a few cliches, but its worth checking out. The settings are done well, the characters show a bit of depth and you can't help but root for Adam as he travels along.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
Adam is an eleven year old son of a minstrel, and training to follow in his father's footsteps. While out on the road Adam's dog is stolen, and then he and his father become separated. Alone in thirteenth century England Adam uses his wits and talents to not only survive, but to locate both his
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father and his dog.

This book deserves its Newbery Metal, as an extremely well-written, believable, and exciting story for all ages.
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LibraryThing member ladycato
I've owned this since I acquired it as a library discard when I was in junior high, and that's when I last read it. I'd really forgotten all details of the story.

This Newberry Award winner from 1943 follows Adam, an 11-year-old minstrel, son of a minstrel named Roger. As the book starts, Adam is
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being educated in an abbey, eager for his father to return from what is essentially a business trip to France. He loves his spaniel Nick and his harp best of all things in the world. When Roger returns, they set off on a road trip. Another minstrel steals Nick, and when father and son set off in pursuit, they are soon separated. Adam spends months on his own, meeting a variety of people around England in 1294.

Foremost, I was surprised by the wealth of medieval details worked into the book. Gray's research was immense, and she gracefully incorporates everything. This is also very much a boy's adventure book. Girls and women have almost no roles, and Adam regards all girls with outright disdain after one thinks cats are better than dogs. The ending feels weirdly tidy and abrupt. I do adore the Robert Lawson illustrations throughout--he's one of my favorite illustrators and authors of this period.

I don't think this is a book I need to keep on my shelf after thirty years, but it was good to read it again.
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LibraryThing member hgcslibrary
11 year old Adam loved to travel through the opened roads of 13th century England with his father, a wandering minstral, and his red spaniel, Nick. But when his father suddenly disappears and Nick is stolen, Adam finds himself alone searching these same roads.
LibraryThing member debnance
"A road's a kind of holy thing," said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. "That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home
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to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle."Adam is a young boy of eleven, spending his time in school while awaiting the return of his father, a minstrel of some repute, and the resumption of his life with his father on the road. Adam's father does return and together father and son head out on the road but, like all road trips, this adventure has many unexpected twists and turns, including the kidnapping of Adam's beloved dog and Adam's separation from his father. The fun of being on this road with Adam is seeing the people and places of another time, parsons and knights and other minstrels and other travelers.As a librarian, I began to see myself like Roger and Adam, as a kind of minstrel, singing songs, reciting poetry, relating stories. Ah, a new epithet: "Minstrel of the Library."
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LibraryThing member LisaNewman
Adam of the Road is about an eleven year old boy in Medieval England. Adam wants to grow into the same profession as his father a minstrel. In the middle of the night another minstrel comes and steals Adam’s beloved dog Nick and Adam and his father set out in search of the pet. Along the way they
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are separated and Adam’s quest doubles to find both the dog and his father.

The book is an interesting look into peasant life in olden times of England as most of the history people read of is about kings and nobles. I found it informative and exciting.

I could use the book to bring understanding of how music and stories originally began as minstrels were storytellers through musical means.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Adam goes on the road with his minstrel father and promptly falls into a variety of adventures. I like his quick thinking and the way he takes to heart the lessons his father has taught him over the years. I suspect Ms. Vining's portrayal of medieval times is more sanitary that it was in real life,
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but overall, very enjoyable.
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LibraryThing member bradleybunch
Isaac, age 10:
This is a story a boy named Adam and how he lived at an abbey with his friend named Perkin. His father was a minstrel. He worked very far away so Adam only got to see him once every couple years. One day Adam’s father came to get him. They travel for the rest of the book. I liked
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this book because it was funny and there is a lot of action when there are chases. I liked Perkin the best because he lives on a farm and I like farms. I would give this book 7.5 out of 10 and I would recommend it.
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LibraryThing member Barbara_Ell
Adam is an 11-year-old mistral in 13th century England. His father is a semi-famous and very talented mistral. Adam's best friend (his dog Nick) is stolen from him, and as he searches for him loses his father, Roger. Living off his wits and talent, Adam takes to the road to find both Nick and
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This novel shows the life of a mistral and the adventures he encounters. There are also parts of songs, poems, and tales of the time. This is a Newbery Medal winner, giving great descriptions of 13th century England, its culture and society.
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LibraryThing member TnTexas
I liked it, my kids not so much. It's an older book so rather slow-paced by today's standards. I enjoyed the glimpse it gave into 13th-century life in England.
LibraryThing member auntieknickers
It's a very long time ago that I read this book -- I was probably no older than the 11-year-old hero. I'm slowly reading all the Newbery Medalists and Honor Books, backwards in time, so eventually I'll be rereading it. I remember enjoying it very much as a child.
LibraryThing member mirrani
A book for history lovers, adventurers, and even some musicians out there, Adam of the Road takes you back to a time when mistrals entertained. Life on the road brings both good and bad, which seem to happen in equal measure within these pages. Overall strangers seem helpful, maybe overly helpful
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at times, but there are a few out there that Adam learns to be wary of. There is enough travel to make this a real journey through 13th century England and enough plot to keep a reader following along from home without really realizing where they are. An excellent choice for young readers who wish to live in the days of old. Certainly deserving of the Newbery Honor it received.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Even though, as a child, I tended to avoid Newbery books, and even now am really not a fan of historical fiction, I did enjoy this several times then, and again this time, for Dec. 2015 Newbery: GR Children's Books. ?One thing that struck me this time was just how old the setting for this is.
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?á Way before Shakespeare! ?áMy other observations/ book darts this time:

"If thou has a sorrow,
Tell it not to thy foe,
But whisper it to thy saddle-bow
And ride forth singing."

And I think some of the tidbits of history are fascinating, as at an inn: "Minstrels.... Good. I'm not ready to sleep and we can't read unless we pay for candles."

And there's humor. A self-important little girl named Agnes prompts Adam to think: "Her name meant lamb of God... but to Adam she was just a silly sheep, and not a sheep of God either."

And since Candlemas Day is Feb. 2, is this the origin of the Groundhog Day tradition?

"If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight."?á
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
Adam is a young minstrel, son of a minstrel, in medieval England. He loves his father, Roger, his dog, Nick, and being a minstrel. We meet the characters and go along with them for a good third of the book before Adam becomes separated both from his dog and his dad. Nick is stolen, and in the chase
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to catch the dog-napper, he loses his father as well. The rest of the book is Adam's quest to find at least one, but preferably both members of his family. Each chapter is its own small adventure, and we definitely are given a view of the middle ages through heavily rose-tinted glasses.

I had mixed feelings about this one. Definitely enjoyed it more than most Newbery winners as old as this (1942 copyright), so it holds up better than some. Adam was a likable protagonist too. But the tale didn't seem have much of a point beyond just following Adam around England hunting for his father and dog. He didn't really learn any lessons, or become a better person. So, while an entertaining enough book, it felt sort of empty at the end. Enjoyable, but probably forgettable.
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