Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Castle Corona - by Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech is one of my favorite authors so I was prepared to fall in love with her latest book, The Castle Corona, but I just couldn’t. Creech takes a far departure from the realistic fiction in present day settings of her other novels. The Castle Corona is tale set in Midieval times, full of peasants and royalty.

The book itself has torn edges and the illustrations are made to create the feel of an illuminated manuscript, in fact, the cover even says, “Illuminated by David Diaz”. Diaz, known for his multi-cultural illustrations in books like Smokey Night and The House that Juan Built, is also trying something new with the flourishes framing his bright illustrations. Each chapter begins with a half-page illumination, but many readers have expressed their disappointment that the illustrations repeat throughout the novel so they are not getting all of the artwork that they bargained for when they purchased the book.

My disappointment was not in the illustrations, but in the storyline. The chapters alternate between the lives of the spoiled royalty, and two orphaned peasants, Enzio and Pia. Enzio & Pia spend their days working and dreaming of how wonderful it would be to be royalty, while the royal family spends their time thinking about how tough it is to have royal responsibilities. One day Enzio and Pia discover a pouch stolen from the castle, which leads to a series of events that intertwine their lives with the royal family. In the end, the puzzling mystery falls flat and the ending wasn’t satisfactory. I totally agree with one review that I read that said, “the BIG REVELATION was neither big nor a revelation nor even remotely interesting.”

The book feels a bit more like an allegory than a fairytale so of course everyone grows and learns in the end. The book is more about growing up than exciting adventures, and I suspect it will be a hard sell to many young readers.


J* said...

Huh...I'm surprised because I love Sharon Creech, too. Thanks for another good review, Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Not great like Walk Two Moons. we just read it and my duaghter has no idea what the story is about or why.. very undefined. and it took her forever to read- just not compelling for her.

Kenneth B said...

This was great to read