Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: The Castle Corona - Sharon Creech

The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasty
Published on October 2, 2007
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 336
Read From: 12.11.13 - 12.12.13

Long ago and far away, there was a castle. But not just any castle. This was a castle that glittered and sparkled and rose majestically above the banks of the winding Winono River: the Castle Corona. 
And in this castle lived a family. But not just any family. This was the family of King Guido: rich and royal and. . . .spoiled. And King Guido was so spoiled that neither jewels nor gold nor splendid finery could please him, for what he longed for most was. . . .a nap and a gown that didn't itch. 
Far below this grand, glittering castle lived two peasants. But not just any peasants. These peasants, though poor and pitiful, were plucky and proud. And in possession of a stolen pouch. But not just any pouch. A pouch whose very contents had the power to unlock secrets and transform lives. . . .


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes, because it is pretty and simple and looks like a kid’s book, which it is. The bright colors and the castle caught my attention even at the age of 20, so I can only imagine how crazy I would have gone over it as a kid.

Characters: Enzio and Pia, our two protagonists, are adventurous, intelligent, and all in all rather likable kids. The other characters have an amazing amount of personality for a story as short and simple as this one, and they are all good characters in their own right. Princess Fabrizia is rather spoilt, but I was able to understand and appreciate her desire to do something - anything! Poor Prince Gianni just wants to be something other than a prince, and Prince Vito is the noble, knight in shining armor who slays dragons and deals out justice. King Guido wants to be left alone, and Queen Gabriella holds everyone together. I always love stories like this; stories that are very simple at heart, but have a wealth of characters. This is definitely a character-driven rather than plot-driven story.

The Romance: There isn’t any!

Plot: The mysterious pouch Enzio and Pia find, and its strangely worthless contents, offer a surprising amount of mystery and intrigue, but don’t expect anything spectacular. As I said, this is a character-driven story, not plot-driven, thus there really isn’t a whole lot to the plotline at all.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: The style is very humorous - I wasn’t really expecting to laugh while reading this book, but I did; quite a bit. Descriptions are very simplistic, but tasteful and neither too sparse nor extravagant.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The explanation behind the pouch would not have worked in any other story, but because of the nature of this book, it fit very well. The manner in which the explanation was revealed was a bit confusing and jumbled, but after a couple of re-reads, I was able to grasp it. Overall, this is a great kids’ book - it would be perfect for a bedtime story, because the chapter are very short, there are charming illustrations, and there’s nothing to give a kid nightmares. I would have loved it when I was little.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-boy read, young kids to adults who enjoy simple, fun kids’ stories.

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