The Battle for the Castle

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This book, along with its companion The Castle in the Attic, was recommended to us by our friend Trisch.. William is now turning twelve. His best friend Jason has grown a foot taller but William is still small. In the town where they live, it is a “right of passage” for all boys who become twelve to “jump the trains.” Jason does. William is not sure that he wants to do it, but how can he prove himself to Jason? The opportunity comes when his former housekeeper, Mrs. Phillips, send him the magic token that enables him to go back to Sir Simon’s castle in the Middle Ages. This time he takes Jason with him. Together they face a dangerous army of rats with their gigantic leader, so it is up to William to defeat the rats in the final battle for the castle. William was once a hero in the kingdom, but can he repeat his feat? Personally, I did not care as much for this book as The Castle in the Attic. I did not think that the plot was as tight. And the language was much worse. Both boys use the word “blast” as an interjection around half a dozen times. The dictionary shows that it is a euphemism for the “d” word. I appreciate children’s authors who use euphemisms instead of outright cursing, but such words still show a paucity of vocabulary. Worse yet, at least three times the phrases “for God’s sake” and “in God’s name” are used as exclamations. Any way you slice it, that is using the Lord’s name in vain. Luckily, we did this as a bedtime read aloud, so I was able to exercise some judicious editing. In spite of these objections, I still think that this is a good story. Find out if William ever does jump the train.

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