cover image Castle: How It Works

Castle: How It Works

David Macaulay with Sheila Keenan. Roaring Brook/Macaulay, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-744-9

Launching the David Macaulay Studio imprint (along with Jet Plane: How It Works, simultaneously available), this handsome leveled reader aims "to stimulate both verbal and visual literacy," Macaulay writes in an introduction. Well-targeted to independent readers not yet ready to tackle Macaulay's more comprehensive 1977 classic, Castle, the engaging narrative addresses readers directly, first inviting them inside a castle as a "friend," and then imagining how they'd attempt to gain access to the structure as "foe." In the first guise, they're introduced to snippets of quotidian castle life: the blacksmith forges a horseshoe while his children chase chickens in the courtyard, servants prepare the great hall for a meal, and a guard uses a rudimentary toilet. Things get more exciting in the second half, as readers receive a crash course in storming the castle as an enemy%E2%80%94battering rams and "germy dead animals" are involved, which should easily pique interest. Macaulay's illustrations are rich in architectural and period detail (and who would expect otherwise?), skillfully partnering with the text to create quality nonfiction. Ages 7%E2%80%938. (Sept.)