In a word: delightful.
Other words to describe this: gem, fascinating, funny, captivating, beautiful.
I won't go into how much I loved the foreword, or the explanation sections, since Sandy did that already (and I wholeheartedly agree with her!)
It's amazing how much information Laura Amy Schlitz packed into 81 pages. There are 23 captivating characters, each one with their own story. It's a well-researched (but never dull) peek back in to Medieval times, the harshness of it, as well as the simple little joys. I liked that Schlitz didn't glamorize the lives of these children, but I liked that she kept it accessible to kids of today. I liked that much of it was poetry: beautiful, simple, powerful. (And this is from someone who isn't necessarily a fan of poetry.)
It's a treasure, and well worth the Newbery it won this year.