The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
|The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A sweet modern fairy tale in which everyone learns to look outside themselves and understand the lives of others. It has a beautifully simple writing style but the denouement is a little rushed and unsatisfying.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: September 2008|
When Pia and her little brother Enzio find a pouch by the side of the path, they know they probably shouldn't keep it. After all, they've just seen a dark rider gallop past, chased by the King's Men with shouts of Stop thief! But keep the pouch they do; they just can't help themselves. There isn't a great deal of fun or mystery in the children's lives. They're apprenticed to a market trader called Pangini, and he works them hard and feeds them little. So they keep the pouch and its interesting contents and they enjoy their games of make believe riches.
Up at the castle, the King is fretting about thieves. The Queen is fretting because she doesn't have a hermit to dispense wisdom to her like the King does. Prince Gianni is fretting because he's a prince, not a poet. Prince Vito is fretting because there aren't any villains to vanquish. And Princess Fabrizia is fretting because there's so little for her to fret about.
In this comedy of manners, everyone is asked to look outside themselves and empathise with others. It's gently done, but it's insistent, and eventually even the slightly ridiculous royal family begins to understand that the world doesn't stop turning when they stop looking. The narrative takes the form of a puzzle, with young readers asked to guess which way the various plot strands will eventually fit together. This is rather unsatisfying - it's all rather anticlimactic, and it doesn't take a very sophisticated reader to work out what's going on.
The language, though, is beautiful, with words perfectly chosen and sentences elegantly crafted. Technically, this book is a joy to read and shows its young readers a dazzling possibility of language while never straying from the accessible. A twist in the story's tail would have lifted it from the pleasant to the super, but as it is I think it unlikely The Castle Corona will be read more than once. It's one to borrow from the library or buy and pass on.
My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.
Those looking for a similar feel but slightly more challenge might enjoy Blue Flame (Perfect Fire Trilogy) by Katie Grant.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech at Amazon.com.
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