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Children's LiteratureAn 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