The Inquisitor's Tale, or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz

Gidwitz tackles a slice of medieval history in the style of The Canterbury Tales and much of the book is narrated by various individuals being interviewed in a local inn. This story follows a young peasant girl with prophetic visions, a young monk with supernatural strength, and a young Jewish villager who can heal any wound (as well as the aforementioned Holy Dog). Gidwitz mainly focuses on their adventures during the first half of the story, how they got into their current predicament, how they met one another, and the enemies they conquer (such as a dragon, who, due to an unfortunate intestinal issue, breathes fire out of the wrong end). However, this story also covers serious topics within its pages, such as how can three children and a dog stop a book burning, deal with intolerance and discrimination because of who they are, or avoid members of the Inquisition? Gidwitz is asking big questions and dealing with issues that have no easy answers and the story is the greater for it, illustrating the true beauty and impact that a well written story can have.

The text is also illuminated in the medieval style, making the book a beautiful artifact as well as a moving story. Gidwitz also has extensive notes at the end that detail the real characters, legends, myths, and places in medieval France he used to craft this story. While this description is not the most enthralling part of the story, it illustrates to children that many of these people and events were real and allows them a peek at the vast amount of research and scholarship that goes into creating a book like this one. Overall, a story of adventure, peril, forgiveness, and hope that should not be missed. Suggested for ages 10 and up.