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Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess Paperback – July 14, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author adopts a faux-medieval style to describe the life of a 13th-century page in what PW called "an informative and amusing introduction to the medieval world." Ages 9-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Grade 4-8-In this oversized, wonderfully illustrated diary, Tobias Burgess, an 11-year-old page, describes daily life in a castle during the course of a year. Although the number of incidents he describes (a jousting tournament, a friend being knighted, his own illness that results in bloodletting by a "physician," and others) seems a bit forced in order to capture as much about life in a medieval castle as possible, readers will enjoy the child's language and descriptions. The large format allows for numerous, detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations. An outstanding section in the back presents additional information and drawings. Not many, if any, children's books on the Middle Ages and castles contain the wealth of information found in this fresh, appealing offering.
Betsy Barnett, Eads School District, CO
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 0960 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (July 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763621641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763621643
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These diary books by Richard Platt are absolutely wonderful! I can't praise them highly enough as great works of historical fiction for young children. My five year old son can't get enough of this book. He loves it so much that I recently purchased the Pirate Diary for him. I didn't pay attention to editions or dimensions. I just purchased it. Well, it was tiny, about 5x6 compared to the large and lavish 10x13 first edition Castle Diary that we own. Also, instead of full page, full color illustrations there were black and white sketches here and there. So, I checked out the Castle Diary book again on Amazon and the same thing has been done. Look carefully at what you're ordering. The first editions are very large and gorgeously illustrated in full color with the text interspersed throughout. The editions available now are much smaller. They are mainly text with a few black and white sketches.

I am so saddened by what they have done to these books. In their original form, they are five star books for sure. I can only give four stars to the newer editions, however. The writing is the same but they have lost their picture book charm which made them accessible to younger kids. Even for older kids, however, a picture is worth a thousand words and would surely be greatly appreciated.

In short, I would rather own a used first edition of these books than a brand new copy of the modified version. I just wanted to point out the difference to prospective buyers.
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Format: Hardcover
An extremely descriptive book, both in text and illustrations. Each page is riddled with short passages (by day) and small illustrations to follow most passages. The text is exploding with vocabulary used by the people of the year 1285 (The Dark Ages). The illustrations are very detailed and descriptive. There are many double page illustrations that add a lot to the book. The detail, color, and facial expressions used in the illustrations catch an observer's eye and force their eyes to wander throughout the illustration to acquire all the information it has to give. Illustrations include the layout of the castle, as well as the inside of many rooms. The text is broken up into easy to read and find sections and a glossary and index is included to aid the reader. At the end is a great section titled "Toby's World". This is a small section that goes into good detail about weapons, armor, houses, castles, and titles of the day. An informative short novel that could be enjoyed by children age 9 to 99. It can be used as a reference, an enjoyable reader, or as an addition to a Dark Ages discussion or curriculum.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's always a challenge to find elementary-level quality literature for earlier time periods, but this was perfect. The illustrations in this hardback edition are wonderful. My kids couldn't wait to read it each day. I recommend it highly to homeschoolers.
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Format: Paperback
Why do I say "amazing"?

Author Richard Platt writes a fictional diary for young readers based on ACADEMIC RESEARCH. The diary is a brilliant vehicle to make the facts fun, digestable, and memorable. Platt makes the history of a medieval castle come to life with vivid characters, action, and suspense.

Why do I say "pathetic"?

I'm a language arts teacher and therefore have some insight on the following scenario: If you ask a young reader to pick out a book, he'll inexorably choose junk like Animorphs or something by R.L. Stine, and adults are inclined to think, "Well, at least he's reading." Yeah, he's reading junk, and as he grows older he'll continue to read junk. I spent a weekend hunting down this incredible book, Castle Diary. Barnes & Noble didn't carry it, and only one of three Borders bookstores in town had it---and only one copy, at that. And yet they carry enough R.L. Stine, Animorphs, and other trash to sink a battleship. Pathetic.

Parents, expect a little more from your child's reading habits. Buy this book for starters.
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A Kid's Review on June 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Castle Diary is a wonderful book about the Middle Ages. It is the diary of a young boy, Tobias Burgess, who spends a year as a page in a castle. He hopes to later become a knight. Tobias has many fun adventures and enjoys the castle life. He gets to ride in a hunt and discovers a poacher near the castle. He is always getting into trouble, as he is not used to the castle rules. His punishments are very harsh. Tobias always keeps up with his journal, because he always wants to remember his experience. I loved this book because I learned so much about the Middle Ages, and the illustrations were absolutely wonderful!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book as a reader on its own or as part of a unit on the Middle Ages. The readability is appropriate for 9-11 year olds. It is informative yet interesting and children can easily relate to it. A few middle english words and phraseology are included to give the book some type of realistic writing and the terms are explained as they are used. It is also a great book to use as a springboard for writing. My students couldn't wait to start their own castle diary after finishing this one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was so excited about this book and was not disappointed! This is a great medieval book to catch the interest of the entire class. The book does a great job of incorporating all aspects of the life of a page and gives great detail into the life inside a castle. We teach medieval history in fourth grade. This will be a perfect summer reading book for rising fourth graders. This author has two other diary type books that are worth checking out.
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