Stephen Biesty's Castles

Stephen Biesty's Castles

by Meredith Hooper, Stephen Biesty

Stephen Biesty turns his attention to ten actual castles as they were on ten historic dates.


Stephen Biesty turns his attention to ten actual castles as they were on ten historic dates.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
An earlier book, Stephen Biesty's Castle, examines life in one generic castle. This book looks at one day in the life at ten castles. At Chateau Gaillard, on October 5, 1198, Richard the Lion-Hearted fends off an attack. At Caernarfon Castle, on August 20, 1320, a stone mason observes activities at the unfinished castle. At Windsor Castle on January 19, 1344, King Edward III hosts an impressive tournament. At Bodiam Castle, May 23, 1392, Sir Edward Dallingridge enjoys retirement in his castle home. At Castel Sant' Angelo on May 6, 1527, Pope Clement VII takes refuge from enemy troops. At the Tower of London on May 29, 1533, King Henry VIII awaits the arrival of Anne Boleyn for a coronation procession. At Chambord on December 18, 1539, Francis I, King of France, entertains Emperor Charles V after a day of hunting. At Osaka Castle, Japan, on November 30, 1614, two powerful families begin their last battle. At Neuschwanstein on February 7, 1886, mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria takes a sleigh ride through the mountains near his fairy tale castle. The story of each castle includes intriguing historical background and, combined with Beisty's detailed drawings, gives the reader a great deal of insight into the varied lifestyles and events associated with castles. A large action-filled drawing introduces each castle with a small version keyed to highlight activities. One minor annoyance is having to turn the book sideways to study several drawings. Nevertheless it is a fascinating book with a fresh viewpoint. 2004, Enchanted Lion Books, Ages 8 up.
—Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Eight castles in Europe, one in Syria, and one in Japan are featured, with a chronological arrangement from the 12th to the 19th century. Detailed drawings of each structure fill a spread, followed by a two-page action account of the particular castle-usually a historical event taking place in the course of a single day-accompanied by numerous thumbnail sketches and an occasional fictional character. The parts of the castle mentioned in the text are numbered on the tiny thumbnails, enabling readers to locate them on the large rendering at the beginning of the section. The illustrations of the castles feature cutaways and see-through walls, which are occasionally confusing, and appear to show only parts of the outlying areas. Overall, there is plenty to pore over here, but children will need to look elsewhere for a more complete picture of these magnificent buildings and their many functions.-Lynda S. Poling, Long Beach Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ten castles, including two that are not European, get the Biesty treatment, with full-spread, minutely detailed aerial views featuring cutaway sections and antlike swarms of residents. Smaller drawings on following pages serve as visual keys to the locations of a dozen or more rooms or other parts of each structure; Hooper fleshes out those keys with glimpses of workers or visitors, most of the latter historical figures, and pivotal events in each castle's history. Portrayals of life in fanciful or composite castles, of which Biesty's own Cross-Sections Castle (1994) is the most spectacular, are not hard to find; here the connection with castles that still exist-though some, the author notes, are in ruins-adds an extra dimension. Fine fare for young armchair travelers, who would otherwise never get a gander at Osaka Castle, Neuschwanstein, and Castel Sant' Angelo in their prime. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Product Details

Enchanted Lion Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.72(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
8 - 16 Years

Meet the Author

Meredith Hooper grew up in Australia. She left there for Oxford, to do post graduate work in History. She is the author of many remarkable books for children, including, Who Built the Pyramids? and Endurance: Shackleton's Perilous Expedition in Antarctica.

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