Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Castle Corona

This book, like the other Sharon Creech books I've read, left me with a feeling of delight.  Somehow, I always think that the books are going to be heavy and dramatic but she  has a gentle and lighthearted touch (at least in the books I've read of hers- The Wanderer and Bloomability) with an overall feeling of optimism.

The Castle Corona is a fairy tale without witches, magic or scary forests.  Instead it concerns two peasant children, the wise and imaginative Pia and her little brother, trusting and energetic Enzio, who spend their dreary days dreaming about living in the golden castle.  Inside the beautiful castle, however, is a family of royals also dissatisfied with their lives and dreaming about lives filled with more excitement or leisure (depending which royal is doing the dreaming!).  
One day Pia and Enzio find a pouch that was dropped by a thief from the castle, turning both the town and the castle upside-down.  The rest of the story unfolds, revealing the characters' different dreams, fears and endearing quirks.

The story is completely delightful, the characters are unique and yet identifiable, the tone is tender and whimsical with a whisper of a wisdom.  David Diaz's illuminated text is a beautiful touch.  Despite the lack of any suspenseful or dangerous conflict, I couldn't put the book down.  Her playful and humorous style reminded me a bit of Carol Ryrie Brink's fantasy stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it!  If you've read it, feel free to comment!

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