Come to the Castle!: A Visit to a Castle in Thirteenth-Century England

Come to the Castle!: A Visit to a Castle in Thirteenth-Century England

by Linda Ashman, S.D. Schindler
     
 

BEHIND THE SCENES IN A MEDIEVAL CASTLE

History comes alive in poetry and pictures.

Welcome to the 13th-century banquet at the castle of the Earl of Daftwood! Here young readers will meet all of the lords and ladies, the servants and the squires. They will discover surprises: flying silverware and mystery meat made of animal feet for dinner--life in the

Overview

BEHIND THE SCENES IN A MEDIEVAL CASTLE

History comes alive in poetry and pictures.

Welcome to the 13th-century banquet at the castle of the Earl of Daftwood! Here young readers will meet all of the lords and ladies, the servants and the squires. They will discover surprises: flying silverware and mystery meat made of animal feet for dinner--life in the castle isn't always elegant. Linda Ashman's clever rhyming text and S.D Schindler's intricate illustrations look at life in a medieval castle from multiple eye-opening perspectives.

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Schindler catches the spirit with illustrations that tiptoe the fine line between tribute and parody . . . . What better kickoff for a history unit.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We are welcomed to life in a 13th-century castle by a series of characters who describe their lives in deftly rhymed couplets. The Earl of Daftwood is bored. He orders his already overworked steward to plan a tournament. A poor herald is sent out through many uncomfortable situations to invite the local lords and ladies to the entertainment. The lady of the castle orders the cook to prepare a sumptuous feast. The poor cook must work frantically with whatever is at hand. The humble cleaners have a huge job to do as the knight and squire prepare for the joust. There is even a suitor for the hand of the reluctant daughter of the earl, and a doctor to care for the ill. The celebration itself is so exciting that, despite the resulting mess, the delighted earl is ready to call for another. Schindler's jacket displays his simulation of medieval illuminated manuscripts, using fine lines and carefully applied color. The typeface suggests Gothic script. The composition of Schindler's illustrations is busy with framed vignettes and text and carefully crafted people engaged in a variety of activities, with ornate vines filling in some of the spaces. Sometimes the book must be turned on its side to better visualize the action. The emphasis, however, is on humor, while supplying us with details of the lives of many levels of society in the period. The "gong farmer" who must shovel out the piles of toilet waste should amuse young readers. There are also added factual notes about the time and characters. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5

In the vein of Laura Amy Schlitz's Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (Candlewick, 2007), Ashman offers voices of several characters within the castle of a bumbling earl as he decrees that he will hold a tournament and a banquet. What this actually means is that his staff will plan the events and suffer the consequences as they clean up after the visiting nobles. The story is straightforward; what is interesting here are the multiple perspectives in rhyming poems that drive the narrative and the humorous artwork filled with period details. Schindler fills the pages with color, from the illustrations themselves to the illuminated borders and drop-cap letters that echo medieval texts. Ashman's poetry holds together well, only occasionally dropping the meter. Endnotes offer historical facts about the roles of each of the characters, from the steward to the "gong farmer," whose job was to clean the privy. In fact, the gong farmer is the most captivating character in the book: his poem and illustration are laid out length-wise to show the drop from the privy to where the mess eventually ends up. While for a younger audience and not as useful in a classroom context as Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! , this book presents more details to expand on the period, and browsers will be enchanted by the illustrations.-Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Wit meets historical accuracy in a pitch-perfect mix of laugh-out-loud text and entertaining image. When the Earl of Daftwood decides to plan a tournament, everyone from the Steward to the Gong Farmer (also known as "Privy Lord") is going to say what they think of it-and little is good. Told in rhyming monologues, the story of the tournament contains facts about life within a 13th-century English castle's walls. A knight bemoans the uncomfortable clothing he must wear: "I see little, hear nothing, itch and perspire. / I pray I don't rust before I retire." Schindler's pictures are clever odes to the illuminated manuscripts of yore. Whether he's bedecking his curlicues with a cook's questionable ingredients or turning a jester into a letter, these pictures are all worth examining closely, at times approaching Brueghelian riot. Sadly, no bibliography appears at the end, although the author's note refers to what must have been considerable research. In spite of that, this simpler version of Laura Amy Schlitz's Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (2007), illustrated by Robert Byrd, remains an informative delight bound to find its audience. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596431553
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
04/14/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
11.20(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

LINDA ASHMAN is the author of many critically acclaimed books for children, including Babies On the Go, illustrated by Jane Dyer, and Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs, illustrated by Lauren Stringer, a Booklist Editors' Choice. She lives with her husband and son in Denver, CO.

S. D. SCHINDLER is the popular illustrator of many bestselling picture books, including How Santa Got His Job, Big Pumpkin, and the 2005 Newbery Honor Book Wittington. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.

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