The Truth about Castles

Gillian Clements, Author
Gillian Clements, Author Carolrhoda Books $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-87614-401-5
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
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.)
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