My mom and I both have a thing for the Middle Ages. We like castles and swords and suits of armor and chivalry… and did I mention castles?
So, yeah, Mom’s totally threatened to take The Truth About Castles away from me and make it her own. However, I think if she got a glimpse inside she wouldn’t want it so much. Because it does not present castles as regal structures of colossal glory and majesty. It isn’t fully of life-like illustrations harping on the drama of castles. Instead, this book takes a humorous – comical even – view on castles and their inhabitants.
Which there’s nothing wrong with. It’s just not as much my kind of thing. Also, the humor isn’t stupid exactly, but it isn’t the intelligent kind.
Biggest of all, probably, is how busy each page is. Instead of having individual illustrations of whatever particular point of a castle is being studied, each set of pages is covered with a huge establishing shot of a castle. Scattered across the picture are little snippets of information which, although children might enjoy, I found distracting. Also, the illustration style is more cartoonish than realistic.
Two dungeons are depicted, both from faraway. In one, two men can be seen chained to the wall; in the other, a skeleton is seated while the jailer makes a joke about the prisoner being ‘dead’ quiet. On page nine, a dog is shown digging up a skeleton. On page 33 a ghost is show sticking its head out of a window.
Review © 2015 Laura Verret