Monday, October 28, 2013

The Castle in the Attic


Seven years ago, I began reading this with my 4th grade reading classes and all of us fell in love with it.  The story begins by introducing us to ten-year-old William and his British nanny Mrs. Phillips.  William's parents are both working professionals who also volunteer within their community.  Mrs. Phillips has been taking care of William since he was a baby and they have an easy, close relationship. 

Mrs. Phillips has decided to retire and return to England and spend the rest of her life near her family.  William is devastated and makes several attempts to keep her from leaving, but Mrs. Phillips remains resolved to go home. 

She brings William a gift to remember her by - a large stone and wood castle that has been in her family for generations.  She has shared stories about the castle all of William's life and he is thrilled to receive it, but still refuses to accept the fact that she will be leaving soon.

As they explore the castle together, Mrs. Phillips gives William a box containing the Silver Knight, a small lead knight.  She asks him to open it when he is alone.  When he does, the adventure begins.

The Silver Knight comes alive the instant he comes in contact with William's skin and that magical moment starts a chain of events that leads to William coming to terms with growing up.

I don't want to spoil the storyline, so I'll just say that there are some beautiful moments between William and Mrs. Phillips.  One of my favorites is her explanation of why it will be good for his family to have her leave.  William is clearly not having it, but it will tug at the reader's heartstrings when she explains that the two of them are almost too close, it leaves others out and if she leaves, his parents will have to arrange their lives around him.  If I tell you my other golden moments, it will spoil the story, so I'll let find out for yourself.

This adventure spans two continents, two eras of time, and tests the love and loyalty of a young boy.

Just get this book and read it already!

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