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Neil's Castle
     

Neil's Castle

by Alissa Imre Geis
 

Have you ever had a dream that you wanted desperately to come true? Neil has. His dream is of a castle, one with tall towers, a drawbridge over a deep moat, and up a winding staircase, a room with windows and a chair just his size. Neil tries to recreate this dream castle, but the sand in his sandbox is too dry and his blocks are too small. Then Neil spots his

Overview

Have you ever had a dream that you wanted desperately to come true? Neil has. His dream is of a castle, one with tall towers, a drawbridge over a deep moat, and up a winding staircase, a room with windows and a chair just his size. Neil tries to recreate this dream castle, but the sand in his sandbox is too dry and his blocks are too small. Then Neil spots his father drawing at his drafting table and he has another idea. Soon, with his father's help, his bedroom is papered floor to ceiling. First with pencil then with paint, Neil's castle moves from dream to reality, and Neil becomes . . . an artist.

Alissa Imre Geis's fresh illustrations and moving text gently share an important message—anyone can pursue a dream.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Neil's dream of a castle was so real that he wanted to create one just like it when he woke up. First, he went to his sandbox, but the sand was too dry and the tall towers would not stand up. Then he remembered his building blocks. He made a castle, but it was too small to sit in as he had done in his dream and it did not have a moat with small goldfish swimming. Next he took the kitchen chairs and draped a blanket over them. He could sit on the floor inside, but he did not feel like he was in a castle. He found his father at the drafting table in his studio. Neil's dad helped him tape large pieces of paper to the walls of his bedroom. Neil drew the castle from his dream and placed two chairs close by. Then he called his dad to come see. They sat in Neil's castle and admired his artistic creation. Colorful, realistic pictures depict the persistent boy and his loving, understanding father. It provides a good sense of bringing a dream to reality. 2004, Viking, Ages 5 to 8.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-After dreaming about a castle, a perseverant youngster uses his imagination and creative problem-solving skills to try and re-create his nighttime vision. First, he attempts to build his dream castle in his sandbox, but "the sand was too dry, and the castle was short and lumpy." Next, he makes towers and walls out of blocks, but "the castle was so little that Neil couldn't sit inside like in his dream." He even tries chairs and a blanket, with no success. Still, the boy does not become frustrated. Instead, while watching his father drawing at his drafting table, Neil is inspired. The two of them put paper on Neil's bedroom walls and he begins to draw. Satisfied with the two-dimensional version he paints, he invites his father into the castle of his dream and they share a hug. Working hard to turn a dream into reality is a good message for any audience, and young children will relate to this realistic example. The color-rich illustrations are evocative, if a bit flat, and complement the quiet simplicity of the story.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A take on the idea that making art requires making choices. Trying to re-create a castle seen in a particularly detailed dream, a child artist uses and rejects various media before finding a satisfactory one. Having discovered that sand is too dry, wooden blocks too small, and a blanket-over-chairs too dark, Neil turns to his artist father, who pulls out conveniently large rolls of paper, and helps him tape them up over a corner of his room. Neil sets to with pencil and paint, quickly producing a floor-to-ceiling chateau. As his castle is rendered in exactly the same style and palette as the rest of the illustrations, with perfectly even colors, no visible brush strokes, and a sophisticated disregard for perspective, this scores low marks for verisimilitude-but it does give young readers a peek into the creative process, and the final scene, of painter and appreciative (single?) parent sitting together, adds an intimate touch. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670036097
Publisher:
Viking Penguin
Publication date:
04/12/2004
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Alissa Imre Geis has worked as a bookseller, a library clerk, a babysitter, and a design assistant.

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