The Truth about Castles

The Truth about Castles

by Gillian Clements

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As any fairy tale devotee knows, castles generally figure prominently, and this historical--and frequently hysterical--book will shed new light on an old subject. Using cutaway drawings and cartoon-like characters, Clements presents a wealth of detailed information in an entertaining fashion. Divided into brief ``chapters'' (all of which are considerably more visual than textual), her comprehensive coverage includes such topics as ``Building Castles,'' ``Preparing a Feast,'' ``People in the Castle'' and--alas for children of all ages--``Castles in Decline.'' Since humor can be a great help in teaching, this farcical book must be considered successful. The bon mots here fly thick and fast, and some may be excessively bon for young readers: when a dog unearths a human skull, a worker declaims, ``Alas, poor Yorick.'' Black humor is represented as well: a finger bowl is in fact a bowl of severed fingers. Nevertheless, in spite of--or perhaps because of--some questionable ripostes, this book's frantic pace will no doubt appeal to youngsters with a taste for fact and fancy. Ages 7-12. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
A light and humorous view of castles. Each spread is devoted to a specific aspect of these structures (what they are, how they were built, types, their defense and attack systems). Brightly colored cartoon-style drawings fill each page, accompanied by dialogue balloons and short descriptive paragraphs. Many of the comments are puns, plays on words, and jokes; some of these verbal asides may be a bit clever for the readers who would gain the most from the content. Only a few pages actually have text beneath the pictures. Much about castles can be learned here, and the information is accurate. Readers will come away with a decent introduction to the topic, and the format may snare reluctant readers as well. For collections that already have Unstead's See Inside a Castle (Watts, 1986) , Scarry's Looking into the Middle Ages (Harper, 1985) , or David Macaulay's classic Castle (Houghton, 1977), this may be considered an additional purchase. --Elisabeth LeBris, Kenilworth Public School System, IL

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Picture Books Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.66(w) x 10.47(h) x 0.14(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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