From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-Using a fictional siege as a backdrop, Langley presents a good deal of information about medieval life. The inhabitants of a castle prepare for attack, endure the long weeks of siege, and then slowly recover from their ordeal. Each double-page spread describes a different aspect of the battle and presents supporting factual information, complete with full-color photos, illustrations, and period reproductions. Special focus is placed on the training, gear, and weapons of soldiers and knights, and the offensive and defensive strategies used during a siege. The history, evolution, and purposes of various types of castles are summarized. The lives and occupations of inhabitants within the castle and in the adjacent towns and lands are also described. Attention is also given to peacetime life in a castle community. The story format motivates readers to explore the factual sidebars, which clarify and extend concepts presented in the narrative. Although the illustrations in David Macaulay's Castle (Houghton, 1977) create more of a mood than those in this title, the two books are comparable in terms of appeal. A good choice for recreational reading and reports.Megan McGuire, Lake View Elementary School, Madison, WI
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