Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Two orphans, a mysterious pouch, and a royal family that's not quite what you'd expect

Pia, a peasant girl of twelve or thirteen, and Enzio, her little brother, happen to witness a thief on horseback fleeing from the King's Men. The thief tosses a pouch onto the ground near them and continues on his way. The children are delighted with their find. Then a soldier, returning unsuccessful from the chase, tells them that, should they happen to find anything, they should give it to the old wise woman who lives in their village. But they can't bring themselves to do it immediately. First, of course, they have to see what's inside.

The discovery of the pouch sparks a chain of events that reaches all the way across the kingdom to King Guido, who is disturbed by the theft even as he yearns for more comfortable clothing and perhaps even a nap, and Queen Gabriella, who feels that there should be more to life than the endless circle of chores and audiences that ruling the kingdom entails, although she doesn't quite know what that might be. The cast of characters also includes two princes, a princess, a hermit, an old wise woman, and a storyteller who spins wondrous tales that enable his listeners to envision unexpected possibilities.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fairytale-like story and the lovely "illuminations" by David Diaz. Told with humor and compassion, this story makes a wonderful read-aloud, with memorable characters that are a delightful combination of the typical and the unexpected.

The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech; illustrated by David Diaz (Joanna Cotler Books, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
Litlb00k's Spot

Other B&OT reviews of books by Sharon Creech:
The Wanderer


  1. AnonymousJuly 17, 2008

    I am glad to see you enjoyed this though I'll confess I did not have as much luck. For whatever reason I've not enjoyed Creech's books the way most people do.

  2. This is one of those books I'd probably buy just because of the cover. Add such an enticing review and how am I to resist?

  3. Hey I just finished Twilight - it was AMAZING. I am totally hooked!!!

    It was a bit slow in the middle, but you know what, it kinda reminded me of the Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith, what do you think?

  4. Bookchronicle - I'm sorry to hear this one didn't do it for you. I find that Creech's books are either hit or miss for me, and I think that may be because she experiments with all different kinds of stories. Some work for me better than others, and this one definitely did!

    Nymeth - I think you'll be glad you read it!

    VA Gal (aka the non sequitur commenter, teehee) - I'll be curious to hear what you think of the next book. I had some serious problems with it, and haven't read the third one, but I've been told it's much better and that I'll enjoy it, so I may end up reading it after all. It did remind me of Vampire Diaries - and did I mention that it's back in print and has new updated covers? I remember you suggested it last year for my horror list for the library's website, and I couldn't use it because there weren't any more copies in the collection.


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