Reviewed -- Fall 2007

New Mystery set in Disney WorldThe Castle Corona

by Sharon Creech

Ages 9-up
320 pages

The publisher's book flap information is so full of fun, it bears repeating:

Long ago and far away . . .

There was a castle. But not just any castle. This was a castle that glittered and sparkled and rose majestically above the banks of the winding Winono River: the Castle Corona.

And in this castle lived a family. But not just any family. This was the family of King Guido: rich and royal and . . . spoiled. And King Guido was so spoiled that neither jewels nor gold nor splendid finery could please him, for what he longed for most was . . . a nap and a gown that didn't itch.

Far below this grand, glittering castle lived two peasants. But not just any peasants. These peasants, though poor and pitiful, were plucky and proud. And in possession of a stolen pouch. But not just any pouch. A pouch whose very contents had the power to unlock secrets and transform lives . . .

And oh, there is an author. But not just any author. Sharon Creech is a Newbery Medal-winning author whose tantalizing tale will not only dazzle and delight but also entertain and excite.

And while the book is fun, we think the plot moves with a little less excitement than the bookflap promises. Nevertheless, the book is worth the read, and a quick one, despite the 320 pages (the type size is quite large).

The story begins with two young peasants, Pia and Enzio, who work for a ruthless master. A thief comes to the castle one day and steals something. The king, horrified, orders all the peasants' houses to be searched. Shortly after, for reasons unknown, Pia and Enzio are taken to the castle and told they are going to be the official tasters to protect the king from possible poison. One day the Queen, Pia and Enzio are off on an errand, and when they return, they are told the king was poisoned. Oh, and don't miss the part about the hermits.

Confused? Well, we can't tell you the end or it would spoil the story. But we can say, that as the story moves along, many events occur that seem strangely out-of-order or raise questions, but don't despair, keep reading, the answers come all wrapped up with a nice big bow at the end.

Review by J.

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