cover image Kings of the Castle

Kings of the Castle

Victoria Turnbull. Templar, $16.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9295-7

George, playing on the beach, sees a monster emerge from the ocean. It’s roughly his size but has a head like a dinosaur, a sinuous tail, and scales. George introduces himself, but the monster doesn’t talk, at least not in language George can understand: the creature trades happy “arfs” with George’s dog, Boris. Disdainful, George turns to leave, but Boris leads him back: the monster is drawing something in the sand. It’s a picture of itself and George, and it has written its name: Nepo. “Maybe they could be friends after all,” writes Turnbull (The Sea Tiger). They start building in the sand, and a climactic gatefold reveals a spectacular castle—a forest of turrets, domes, and arches, all thrust skyward under a full moon. The twist is this: George is a monster, too; he has four horns and a tail, and he’s nocturnal (the entire story takes place at night). There’s lots on offer in this lovely portrait of a friendship bridging difference—a splendid vision of what dreams can build, and a reminder of the riches that lie unseen in the people (and monsters) all around us. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)