Friday, January 30, 2009

The Castle in the Attic

The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop is about a boy, William, whose nanny is about to leave him and return to England after spending the first ten years of his life taking care of him. William is an only child, small for his age, but talented as a gymnast, and he loves his nanny, Mrs. Phillips. He can't imagine what his life will be without her in his home. His parents love him, too, but their work keeps them busy.

Mrs. Phillips gives William a farewell gift before she leaves. It is a toy castle with a toy knight (the Silver Knight) she played with as a child. William asked her if there were other soldiers and Mrs. Phillips answered,

"I think there might have been other soldiers originally because my great-grandfather mentioned some in a letter about the castle, but I've never seen them. When I was a child, there was only the Silver Knight. There was some legend that was passed down about him. I remember bits and pieces of it. He was thrown out of his kingdom long ago by an enemy of some sort, and it's said that one day he'll come back to life and return to reclaim his land. But the whole time I played with the castle, he was as stiff and cold as lead."

The Silver Knight does not stay stiff as lead with William, however, but comes back to life. William then plots to keep Mrs. Phillips and though he comes to regret it later, he arranges with the Silver Knight to shrink Mrs. Phillips and keep her in the castle.

William becomes ashamed of his selfishness and redeems himself and saves Mrs. Phillips by going on a difficult quest to find and outwit the evil magician who made the Silver Knight small and stole his kingdom.

I liked this book and wondered how I'd managed to miss it when I was a child. Then I looked at the copyright date - 1985. I was 24 and married when this was first published. My older sons would have liked this book. They loved The Indian in the Cupboard and other books by Lynne Reid Banks. I still have one daughter and one son young enough to enjoy this so I'm glad to have found it.

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Anonymous Lillium said...

This was one of Jason's favorite books. Besides, I loved it too. I believe I used it as a read-a-loud to my class too. Isn't there a seguel to it?

8:33 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think there is - I looked on Amazon. Did you and Jason read the sequel, too?

10:28 AM  
Blogger hopeinbrazil said...

It's been many years since my boys and I read this book and its sequel. If I remember correctly we liked the second book even more.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Wow - sounds really interesting. May be a good one for later. Will put on our wishlist. Thanks.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Memory said...

I loved this book so much when I was little. Thanks for the great review!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Framed said...

Oh,dear, looks like I'll be adding some more books to my list. Thanks for your recommendation, I think.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Laura, Jbird and I did read the sequel, The Battle for the Castle. If I remember correctly, I didn't quite like it as much as the first but it was still a good read. Now I'm at your site looking for a good non-fiction book for a friend who is going in for knee surgery.


8:48 PM  

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