Book Review: The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop

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William is small for his age, and a bit lonely, but he has a gentle spirit. At least, that’s what Mrs. Phillips tells him. Mrs. Phillips has been with William’s family since he was born, taking care of him when his parents are at work, helping him practice his gymnastics routine, and giving him a shoulder to cry on.

Now William is 10 years old, old enough to take care of himself. Mrs. Phillips longs to go back to her native England. The time has come for her to leave. Her parting gift to the boy she has practically raised is a very special toy castle and a lone, lead knight.

But William does not want to let Mrs. Phillips go. And he gets his chance to make her stay when the lead knight comes to life in William’s hand. With the aid of a magic medallion, William shrinks Mrs. Phillips and sends her to live in the castle. Then he feels sorry for what he has done, and joins her there. Only it seems that, before they can return to their own world, William must go on an adventure in the world of the castle and the formerly-leaden knight.

Filled with the spirit of some of our favorite books by Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, and Lynne Reid Banks, this is an adventure of a modern boy in a medieval world – a fantasy of toys come to life – and a boy’s test of courage against a powerful wizard and many other magical perils. This present-day fairy tale is well told, and features a hero who will win your heart. When he does so, you may want to read the sequel, titled The Battle for the Castle.