Review: Battle For the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop

My kids enjoyed The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop, so we decided to listen to the sequel, The Battle for the Castle. Both children gave the book a thumbs up, and I was sufficiently entertained with the book to keep listening to it.

The summary

William went on a magical journey six hundred years back in time with his nanny, Mrs. Phillips, in the first book, The Castle in The Attic. He met Sir Simon and defeated the villain, Alastor. This book starts off with William being two years older and Mrs. Phillips sent him a birthday present, the charm of Janus used in the first book. The charm can be used to shrink and un-shrink things, animals, and people. Then, if these shrunken folk spend the night in the castle in William’s attic, they wake up in the past. The attic is gone, and a forest is outside the castle.

William and his friend Jason bring their bicycles to the attic, shrink themselves, and go on an adventure. They meet Sir Simon as he is about to leave for a tournament, and they stay at his castle. They spend time with a boy and a girl at the castle and together. The girl tells them of an omen her grandmother, Calendar, kept repeating before she died. Sir Simon sent Calendar away to the convent because he thought she was crazy and he does not believe the omen. Few believe it but Calendar’s granddaughter does. Jason and William believe it too.

Topics for discussion

New technology: The kids are interested in the bicycles. They have never seen them before. How would you react if someone from the future brought something to you and you had never seen it before?

Human behavior: Some people panic in emergencies. Some people do not panic, seem to gain clarity, and lead through touch situations. Which type of person are you? Is that a trait you can change?

Human behavior: Why did the small rats turn on the large rat? Would humans behave that way in a similar way if they were in that type of situation?

Swimming: Is it a good idea to go out on a boat? What about when you cannot swim? What if you are with people that can swim?

Rats: What can rats really do? Can rats really chew through walls? Can they eat entire animals? Is one rat dangerous? How many rats does it take before the rats are dangerous?