Reading Level: Ages 9 – 11
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
This book was recommended to us by our friend Trisch Breed. Ten-year-old William, whose parents both work, is losing his beloved governess, Mrs. Phillips, who is moving back to England. As a going-away present, she gives him an old, real-looking model of a castle made out of stone and wood and a finger-high lead knight to guard it. William is certain that there must be something magical about it, and sure enough, when he holds the tiny knight, it comes alive in his hand. Sir Simon tells William that a sorcerer had used magic to steal his kingdom and turn him into lead. In fact, just before he became completely leaden, he grabbed part of the sorcerer’s necklace which can make things small. William uses it to make Mrs. Phillips small so he can keep her, but after he sees how sad she is, he agrees to be made small himself so that he can help Sir Simon defeat the sorcerer and get the other part of the necklace that can make Mrs. Phillips normal sized again.
Those who do not like books with any “magic” in them will want to avoid this one, but otherwise, besides a reference or two to drinking ale, there is nothing objectionable in this book, and there are several good character traits represented, including loyalty to friends, overcoming fears, and being sorry enough for one’s mistakes to do whatever is needed to correct them. Both twelve-year-old Jeremy, to whom I read it aloud before bedtime, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a sequel, The Battle for the Castle.
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