This Newbery winner, more than any other that I’ve read so far has me feeling very conflicted. I can see that it’s a charming book. (Any book that starts with a boy sick in bed because he ate too many tomatoes has got to be at least a little charming right?) I liked the simpleness of the story, I loved the illustrations, and I loved the Bulgarian setting. I knew practically nothing about Bulgaria before reading Dobry, and I’m certain that I’ve never read a novel set in Bulgaria before.
Unfortunately, the charming aspects end there. There is virtually no plot at all, nothing is at stake, it’s incredibly boring and really the only thing that makes the book at all readable is its Bulgarianness. It seems pretty obvious to me that the the book was written simple for its setting, and a book has to have more than an unusual setting and pretty illustrations to be a great book. That’s why this one hasn’t stood the test of time.
I give it two Newbery pies.
Next up: Caddie Woodlawn (woop woop!)