cover image The Castle in the Attic

The Castle in the Attic

Elizabeth Winthrop. Holiday House, $17.95 (179pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0579-4

An author admired for realistic novels, Winthrop presents an absorbing fantasy about William Lawrence, 10. When Mrs. Phillips prepares to return to her native England, William grieves. She has taken care of him through the years while his parents have been away at work. Mrs. Phillips's parting gift to the boy is a medieval castle, authentically complete, but with only one small figure, a knight. Picking up the knight, William is thrilled when it comes to life. The knight tells of the times when a wizard had spellbound all the king's subjects and unsurped the throne. But William is more interested in the tiny man's magic amulet and he uses it to shrink Mrs. Phillips, to keep her in the castle. Then his conscience insists that he miniaturize himself and join the two in the fight to undo the wizard and restore the kingdom. Suspense and colorful details, as well as a gentle moral percept, make the story special. (812)