King of the Castle

Overview

By the prizewinning author of the classics Red is Best, The Bare Naked Book and Big or Little, this chapter book is about a man who spends every day in a school but who cannot read. Mr. Elliot has a job he loves. He is the custodian in a primary school. He is so useful to everyone that sometimes he sees himself as the king of the castle. But Mr. Elliot has a secret. He can't read. Using many excuses like pretending not to have his glasses, he has hidden his inability to read all of his life. When he sees a child ...

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King of the Castle

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Overview

By the prizewinning author of the classics Red is Best, The Bare Naked Book and Big or Little, this chapter book is about a man who spends every day in a school but who cannot read. Mr. Elliot has a job he loves. He is the custodian in a primary school. He is so useful to everyone that sometimes he sees himself as the king of the castle. But Mr. Elliot has a secret. He can't read. Using many excuses like pretending not to have his glasses, he has hidden his inability to read all of his life. When he sees a child at the school being called stupid and falling into the traps he remembers so well himself, Mr. Elliot finally decides he must learn how to read. His granddaughter proves to be his perfect audience. Black and white illustrations enhance this novel's appeal for readers 7 to 10.

Inspired by his grandchildren and by children he sees at school, Mr. Elliot, the school custodian, decides to learn how to read.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Mr. Elliot is the custodian at Jesse Lucas Public School and he is loved by all the students. He works very hard to keep the school clean and beautiful, but Mr. Elliot has a secret, and with each passing day, it becomes harder to keep. Mr. Elliot is also a grandfather who enjoys spending time with his granddaughter, Jemma and his grandson, Jason. Jemma often brings a book to him but Mr. Elliot tells her he can't read to her because his glasses are broken. He also uses this excuse at school when children ask him for help reading or spelling. Mr. Elliot's secret is he cannot read. He remembers his own school days, being teased because he could not read and the thought of it makes his heart heavy. Mr. Elliot decides he will learn to read and he signs up for classes at the library. At first he is scared, but he learns one word and then another, and soon he can read a whole sentence. Though it is still very hard for him, Mr. Elliot does not give up. His success gives him a tremendous feeling of self-confidence. It also gives him courage to talk about his problem. The teachers are inspired by Mr. Elliot's courage and determination and decide to honor him at an end of the year assembly. This short chapter book is perfect for a student who may by struggling to read¾it offers hope. The black-and-white, full-page illustrations give visual importance to enhancing literacy skills. 2000, Second Story Press, $5.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Sue Reichard
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-Kindly Mr. Elliot loves his job as a custodian in the local grammar school, but he harbors a shameful secret. He can't read, and it saddens him every time his grandchildren ask him to read to them. Finally, he is inspired by his grandson Jason's determined efforts at reading and later that evening he bravely reveals his secret to his daughter, who helps him enroll in literacy classes. Despite struggles and setbacks, Mr. Elliot makes progress and there's a happy ending as he is promoted to head custodian. At the end-of-the-year ceremonies, he reads a moving story he wrote about learning to read. This gentle tale is illustrated with sensitive black-and-white drawings. Pair it with Diane Stanley's humorous Raising Sweetness (Putnam, 1998) for a different treatment of adult illiteracy.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781896764351
  • Publisher: Second Story Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Early Chapter Books Series
  • Pages: 72
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 5.25 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Working in watercolor and colored pencil, Kasia Charko creates detailed, colorful paintings that bring period, place and character to life. Born and educated in England, Kasia lives in Alton, Ontario, with her family of animals: a chocolate Lab, a mini rex velvet rabbit and two cats.
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