The Captain’s Log – the bronze bow (Elizabeth George Speare)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This read is long overdue.  Having loved other books by this author, I always wanted to read this book but never did.  Then I read a post by me matey Jackie @ deathbysundoku back in October 2017.  She be on the Great Newbery quest wherein she be reading all Newbery medal winners by January 2022 when the 100th Newbery Award happens!  Worthy goal indeed.  I meself had embarked on this journey many years ago before adverse winds and scads of other adventures sent me off course.  So Jackie’s posts have rekindled me interest in finishing them all and so periodically I pick another one up.

I have to say that this one was not the best book in me view.  This be a young adult historical fiction.  The story follows eighteen year old Daniel bar Jamin of Israel.  Daniel wants revenge on the Romans due to the death of his father.  But he is torn between duty to his family and duty to the band of outlaws determined to wrest Israel from Rome’s control.

While I enjoy the characterization of Daniel and sympathized with him, it was the pacing of the plot that made this less than fun.  This story takes place over many years and the action is slow.  Most of the story involves Daniel’s inner struggles.  I think the problem was that I, the reader, could see the path he should take and then had to hear all the silly reasons why he didn’t.  I still thought Daniel was wonderful and was rooting for him.

It was also weird to read of Jesus as a side character who has conversations with Daniel and then saves the day.  I didn’t mind the religion in the book outside of that quirk.  I always enjoy readin’ about different perspectives and the book’s time frame with all the changes and upheaval in religion is fascinating.  I do think this be the book’s strength.

I can see why it also won an award  Hate not love be the message of the day.  While I think that be a worthy sentiment, I just didn’t love the execution of it.  I consider it just okay.  No regrets about readin’ it though.  I now want to reread the sign of the beaver.  Arrrr!

Side note: For this list of all the Newbery award winners thus far (taken from Jackie’s site) and the ones I have read that be highlighted, scroll to the bottom of the page!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)
The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from his land of Israel. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A fast-paced, suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, the idea of home, community . . . and ultimately, as Jesus says to Daniel on page 224: “Can’t you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love.” A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

Elizabeth George Speare – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the bronze bow – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Me Newbery Reads (in italics with links to reviews when applicable)

2017: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin)

2016: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin)

2015: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

2014: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)

2013: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

2012: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (Farrar Straus Giroux)

2011: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Dave McKean (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)

2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illus. by Matt Phelan (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)

2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)

2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (Hyperion Books for Children)

2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park(Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)

2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (Dial)

2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte)

1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Frances Foster)

1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Scholastic)

1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (Jean Karl/Atheneum)

1996: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman (Clarion)

1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins)

1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry (Houghton)

1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (Jackson/Orchard)

1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum)

1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown)

1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Houghton)

1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (Harper)

1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (Clarion)

1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow)

1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Harper)

1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Greenwillow)

1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Morrow)

1983: Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum)

1982: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (Harcourt)

1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)

1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos (Scribner)

1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Dutton)

1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)

1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Dial)

1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (McElderry/Atheneum)

1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (Macmillan)

1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Bradbury)

1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Harper)

1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (Atheneum)

1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (Viking)

1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Harper)

1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Holt)

1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum)

1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (Follett)

1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (Farrar)

1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska (Atheneum)

1964: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville (Harper)

1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Farrar)

1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Houghton)

1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (Houghton)

1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)

1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Houghton)

1958: Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith (Crowell)

1957: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen (Harcourt)

1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (Houghton)

1955: The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong (Harper)

1954: …And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)

1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (Viking)

1952: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (Harcourt)

1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Dutton)

1950: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (Doubleday)

1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (Rand McNally)

1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (Viking)

1947: Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (Viking)

1946: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (Lippincott)

1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (Viking)

1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Houghton)

1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Viking)

1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds (Dodd)

1941: Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry (Macmillan)

1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty (Viking)

1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright (Rinehart)

1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy (Viking)

1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (Viking)

1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Macmillan)

1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon (Viking)

1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs (Little, Brown)

1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis (Winston)

1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer (Longmans)

1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth (Macmillan)

1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (Macmillan)

1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Macmillan)

1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Dutton)

1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James (Scribner)

1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Dutton)

1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Doubleday)

1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)

1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (Lippincott)

1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (Liveright)

15 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – the bronze bow (Elizabeth George Speare)

  1. You are making great progress on reading all the Newberys, Captain! At this rate, you’ll surpass me. 😉 But seriously, I haven’t been great about writing reviews for all the Newbery winners I’ve been reading. This is inspiring to pick up the pace. XD

    I’ve been putting this book off because many people have told me what you mention above: The pacing isn’t super great and the moral is a bit heavy-handed. That said, I can’t think of many non-religious books which are set during this time frame. That is, unless you think this might count as Christian fiction? What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well ye certainly need to catch up on yer Newbery reviews because I LOVE them and want to read them. I don’t really count this as Christian fiction, though some do. It is the time period that was captured best for me. I think for a lot of the Christian fiction that I have read, there is an emphasis on the character’s sins and shortcomings and asking for forgiveness. In this one, it shows a boy’s inner struggles to decide his life’s path but there isn’t a lot of guilt involved. But I haven’t read much Christian fiction so what do I know?
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. D’aw. Thank you, Captain! That means a lot. I know I could write mini-reviews, but I want to link each book separately via The Great Newbery Quest… so I guess I’ve just been putting these off. I have something like 20 to write! O_o Oops. That’s what I get for choosing to read over writing reviews! XD

        Haha. I think your opinion stands! Having read VERY little Christian fiction myself, I think it’s easy to identify if something is intended to carry a religious moral. This aligns with my expectation. For example, her other Newbery Winner The Witch of Blackbird Pond discusses religion closely but is, if anything, a criticsm of religion. Perhaps just of extremism in religion, but still. I’m glad to hear that this is more about Daniel’s growth and development than anything else!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I be excited for 20 whole Newbery reviews. I didn’t know ye had read so many recently. Great job! Now get cracking and write those reviews.

        I adore the witch of blackbird pond and do agree that while religion plays a powerful part in the novel it is not the point of the novel. The point is following Kit’s growth. I do think that is the point of this one as well. I just happened to think it is not as strong of a book in comparison even if it was written later. But I think her goals of the two were similar. Thanks as always for the lovely comments.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I wouldn’t say I’ve read them *recently*. Perhaps over the course of the year? I’ve gotten into a terrible habit of reading 8-10 books a month but only writing reviews for 3-5 of the books I’ve read. O_o I have a LOT to catch up on– Newbery or not! Here’s hoping someday I’ll just take a day off of work and crank out a bunch of reviews. Or something! I have no idea how I might catch up.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well matey, I currently be 31 books behind on reviews. Cause the rule of me blog is that I have to review everything I read. Doing rereads on audiobooks is what led to the backlog. I have started doing mini-reviews for the books that are not sci-fi or fantasy. Plus I am going to review some of the series as a whole for the rereads. It is overwhelming at the moment but I know I will like having them written to look back on in the future. Arrr!
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review, but especially thanks for the link to Jackie’s blog and the inspiration to read more award-winning books! I may not be playing along with a time limit, but I think I’ll start tracking my Newbery Award-winning books read, now…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the praise and aye Jackie’s blog be awesome. I love readin’ her thoughts on the Newbery books. I also don’t have a “time limit’ in terms of date because I am such a mood reader but I do want to read them all before I die. So I guess that is the real goal!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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