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Children's LiteratureVarious types of castles are described followed by a two-page spread with a detailed drawing of a castle with cutlines pointing out defensive construction features. It is well worth lingering over. The book describes castle communities, the various living areas in a castle and even mealtime behaviors. (I wish a source had been given for the list of manners at meals and for other material in the book.) After discussing the end of castles, it mentions forts in other parts of the world. Although this book is attractively designed, thoughtfully illustrated and informative, other books cover this subject for the same age group more thoroughly in both words and pictures. For instance Usborne's "Starting Point History" series book "What Were Castles For?" not only talks of the physical features of a castle as this book does, it also tells about the lives of knights and other people in and around the castle. Thus the Usborne book covers the information in this book as well as in Crabtree's The Life of a Knight and includes Internet links for further research. The Kingfisher Questions and Answers book, Knights and Castles, also covers very well the information in the same two books in the Crabtree series. The Usborne Book of Castles encompasses material in the four Crabtree Medieval World series books about knights, castle life, Medieval society and warfare. The Usborne book, includes Internet links. This book includes background on the Middle Ages, a time line, a glossary and an index. 2004, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 7 to 14.
—Janet Crane Barley