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4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,764 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
The word itself conjures up mystery, romance, intrigue, and grandeur. What could be more perfect for an author/illustrator who has continually stripped away the mystique of architectural structures that have long fascinated modern man? With typical zest and wry sense of humor punctuating his drawings, David Macaulay traces the step-by-step planning and construction of both ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published October 25th 1982 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1977)
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Oct 14, 2014 booklady rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any castle lover
I've always wanted to read this book and can't believe it's taken me so long. It can be read in a single, very enjoyable sitting. The artwork, text and research are first rate. My family watched and thoroughly enjoyed Macaulay's exceptional PBS special called Building Big where he teaches the architectural feats needed to construct big projects such as: bridges, tunnels, dams, domes and skyscrapers. If you've never seen it--it's sensational! So is the companion book...I digress.

So there's no exc
The glorious illustrations are what makes Castle, detailed, informative, and quite simply outstanding. However, as much as I appreciate (and even enjoy) the former, the accompanying text is rather dense; I often feel my attention wandering (and my eyes skimming over parts). And considering that Castle in many ways strives to educate and enlighten, its teaching and learning potential would be increased by the inclusion of a list of works consulted and cited (a bibliography), as well as additional ...more
Jan 17, 2008 Ray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book twenty years ago while in college because it was so well illustrated, and it did such a great job of answering questions I had about how castles were built and arranged. I haven't looked at it since, but save dit because I knew someday my kids would love it as much as I did.

Last year my 2nd grade son checked out a perfectly good book on castles from his school. He poured over the illustrations and read the captions, but he couldn't get answers to his questions: "Dad, what's a
As a history/ historical-fiction lover of most things involving royalty; I have read many books with castle or palace scenes. These scenes tend to be taken for granted and are the “norm”. However, if you are seeking to expand your knowledge of the ins and outs of a castle built from the ground up; then look no further than David Macaulay’s “Castle”.

Let me be frank: “Castle” is an illustrated children’s book. However, rather than viewing this as a bedtime storybook for the loved child in your lif
Apr 02, 2015 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone if just for the illustrations.
Fabulous!! As I taught British Literature, I used a tape made by this author to teach my high school students how a castle was made, etc. Mr. Macaulay's illustrations are just marvelous. Not only do they explain in detail how and why castles were built, but the book is written so anyone can read and understand it. The illustrations back up the text, but Mr. Macaulay goes a bit further and adds humorous items to his illustrations. For example, in explaining the various floors of a tower in the ca ...more
Nov 30, 2008 A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How and why medieval castles were constructed, with intricate drawings showing details of castle construction, defenses,and life.

Recommended for ages 9-12. Approprate for ages 12-18, possibly younger children if they are already interested in castles.

I would not recommend this book as a first introduction to castles for young children. For that purpose, I highly recommend Castle, by Nicholas Harris and Peter Dennis. If, however, your older child knows about castles and is interested in learning
May 16, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My 13 year old and I read this book together. He absolutely loved reading about the history and building of the castle. He has another larger DK book on Castles and as we read told me about his previous knowledge on the topic we were reading about and expanded our discussion. The images (drawings) being b/w are a perfect match so that details of the castle stand out. After reading this story, we watched the accompanying PBS special Castle by the same author. The movie is s a perfect tag-a-long g ...more
L-Crystal Wlodek
Castle is a Caldecott Honor book (1978) and is recommended for students in grades 2 and up. This book explains the creation and construction of Lord Kevin’s castle. This is a progressionary tale and it explains the tools, materials, and workers used and needed to build the castle. Through this book, readers will see and experience the amount of time and methodical work put into the construction of a castle.

Readers will get to see and experience the amount of hard work that goes into the buildin
I reread this book after nearly ten years; it remains a brilliant educational and entertaining book. Macaulay once more uses his plot device of describing a fictional edifice, this being a kind of Platonic ideal of the Crusader-era medieval castle, framed within proper historical conflict of England’s conquest of Wales in the Thirteenth Century. We see the castle itself, the city walls, and a thriving town rise from it’s foundations in these pages with delightful and realistic illustrations. You ...more
Jan 25, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Macaulay's original "Castle" was named a 1978 Caldecott Honor medal winner and detailed the building of a castle in Wales in the late 1200s; this colorized edition is a worthy revision. Looking at the books side by side, the changes are not just in the application of color but also in the details of the illustrations. The first page previously showed a sailing ship under full sail, travelling on a fairly calm sea; the new edition includes dark clouds, whitecaps on larger waves, and a crew member ...more
I absolutely adore this series ( Pyramid, Cathedral, Mill, etc.) I had the opportunity to meet the author at a benefit hosted at the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania around 1987 or so, he's amazing.

This book, and the companion video, give incredible insight into the mammoth human effort, gargantuan investment, and astonishing technical knowledge that went into building the monuments we still tour in awe today. McCauley balances technical information with accessible characters, creating
Jan 31, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of lots of words, but so much knowledge just in the pictures that you could teach children with it, and keep them enthralled without ever reading word. It is full of discussion, show them the workers and ask what job they'd want, show them the tools and ask which they would want to use. And at the end, ask them to draw their own diagram of how they would build their castle, and how it would look at the end. The drawings are detailed yet simple enough for the children to underst ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Well written from start to finish on how to build a castle. Read for our unit study on Medieval times..krb 3/15/16
(Same review for Castle, Cathedral, and Pyramid, which I read all around the same time)

I greatly enjoyed Randall Munroe's What If. It reminded me in some ways of David Macaulay's books, which I read as a child. Inspired and nostalgic, I went out and acquired several of them, and decided to spell some of my "grown-up" reading with them:

- Castle is about a British castle in the 1200s-1300s
- Cathedral is about a French cathedral in the 1200s-1300s
- Pyramid is about an Egyptian pyramid in the 2400s
James Vachowski
Oct 05, 2014 James Vachowski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-boys-like
What can I say about “Castle”? It’s kind of like a picture book about architecture, with an awesome story set in medieval Europe. This is one of those books where I won’t be able to describe it no matter how hard I try, so you’ll just have to go out and read it for yourself. “Castle” tells the story of a typical medieval fortress, from its planning stages through the actual construction. The story even includes a fierce battle that tests the building’s defenses! It’s an awesome look inside a hug ...more
Jun 18, 2014 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Castle is an 80 page hardcover, dust-jacketed, full-color reprint of the 1977 classic with the same name that is designed for kids ages 10 to 14. Like Cathedral, this book takes place in the 13th Century, only in England instead of France. The fictitious castle being built is located in Aberwyvern and is "based on several castles built to aid in the conquest of Wales between 1277 and 1305. The first thing we learn in this book is location. Location is THE rule in modern-day real estate, and it h ...more
Castle won a Caldecott Honor and rightly so. The story itself is informative, describing the processes involved in constructing a castle, but the illustrations are more engaging and show a lot of attention to detail. Because of the vocabulary used, I would see this being a reference book for 5th or 6th graders. I believe the main reason it would be picked up is to use it for a project, although someone interested in architecture or just castles would enjoy it.
Jan 23, 2014 Haley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott
This personally was not my favorite book, but I could see why some people enjoy reading it. The book gave incredible details in both words and illustrations. After reading the book, I felt I knew where everything was in the castle and surrounding areas. On the other hand, this could be found to be rather lengthy and boring. I think this book would best be suited for older elementary children and boys in particular.
Picturebook-Historical Fiction
Penny Johnson
The ingenuity of mankind is celebrated in this informative book. Though technology and resources were limited when compared to the 21st century, the planners and builders of the 13th century managed to create a 'modern' effective community. This book puts the reader into a time machine and allows us to be eyewitnesses to the building of a castle and village. Macaulay's detailed pencil drawings are educational and fun to study.
Apr 08, 2010 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy is an artistic genius, as well as an historian. His drawings depicting the building of a castle are totally awesome, and the accompanying history really makes you feel as though you're going through the process of castle-building, step by step. Highly recommended for all reading ages!
Sarah Wheeland
Castle: How it Works

(2012, December 1). Booklist.

Text Structure: Description

Fiction Twin Text: “Over at the Castle” by Boni Ashburn (2010)

Rationale: Both of these texts describe the structure and purposes of medieval castles. “Castle: How it Works” gives lots of description of the structure of castles while “Over at the Castle” uses fiction storytelling to show students what the lives of castle-dwellers were like. The two together provide a nicely complet
Sep 19, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book, I guess, but it is actually pretty interesting. It describes he construction of a realistic but fictional English castle in Wales in the 13th century. I used it to help me design a castle in Minecraft.
Rebecca McKinnon
This is a really great book for kids (and adults) who are interested in how castles were built. It goes through the whole process, from what tools and materials were used all the way to the finished castle. Really fun!
TRAM School
Feb 11, 2016 TRAM School rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's all about building a castle - where toilets are in the castle, the inner and outer curtains and the Great Hall. There are pictures in the book, so you can see how people lived. For instance, you can see pictures of where the toilets were, and the pipes going down into a cesspool. Castles looked different than our houses or apartments. I've seen castle ruins, the tower from an old castle - in Vilnius, Lithuania. I climbed up the stairs, and I saw the ruins of what the wall looked like.

I'd li
1978 Caldecott Honor - Favorite Illustration: the interior shot of the Great Hall. I really enjoy all of Macaulay's illustrations and attention to detail.
Like his previous Caldecott honor, Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction, this tells the story of the massive construction feat of a fictional edifice. I really enjoyed reading through this, and I even learned a few new things on the construct of a castle. The ending, though, that stated the castle was little more than a quarry 200 years lat

There was a problem with this book. Two problems. The first, and most significant, is it's quasi-non-fiction. The book reflects the castle building of a fictional feudal lord, using non-fiction procedures. I would have appreciated it far more if it was completely non-fiction. It felt incomplete.

The second major issue is it was dry. Very dry. Sahara dry. Since they fictionalized the sovereign, why not make there a more enjoyable and binding story? I know that this book is a classic, and what
Joan Innes
An intereting historical account of 1283 and King Edward The First's attempt to acquire rule in Northwest Wales through the building of castles and towns. He attemted to persuade the local Lords to take on the expense. It's very interesting to read about the logistics of acquiring land, engineers, architects and builders as well as shiploads of building materials to make structures that kept the people free from military opposition. Detailed description of the layout and construction of castle a ...more
Stephanie Jobe
May 01, 2012 Stephanie Jobe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David MacAulay is a name that has come up a lot in my world lately but somehow I missed him in my youth. This strikes me as humorous because I have always been a total geek about history, architecture, construction, castles, life as it was, etc. etc. So then I went to my boyfriend’s parents’ house and there it is sitting on the bedroom shelf and I had even forgotten my book. I love the illustrations. I could easily have seen me as a child sitting there with David MacAulay in one hand and Mitsuma ...more
Roslyn Ross
Jan 04, 2016 Roslyn Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do I find a kids book that I like, and this one I love! It's Anders's current favorite book--and was a fantastic intro to politics. Every abstract discussion has to start with concretes. This provides a great concrete story. Super excited about this author!
Amanda Funnell
Genre: picture book, historical nonfiction
This book was too lengthy a picture book, in my opinion. However, I can connect it with many great medieval history lesson units, reading sections of it each day. The drawings are so incredibly detailed and exact with the book.
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David Macaulay, born in 1946, was eleven when his parents moved from England to Bloomfield, New Jersey. He found himself having to adjust from an idyllic English childhood to life in a fast paced American city. During this time he began to draw seriously, and after graduating from high school he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After spending his fifth year at RISD in Rome on ...more
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