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The Castle in the Attic

(The Castle In The Attic #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  17,809 ratings  ·  781 reviews
One of the classic fantastical adventures of all time!

William has just received the best present of his life—an old, real-looking stone and wooden model of a castle, with a drawbridge, a moat, and a fingerhigh knight to guard the gates. It’s the mysterious castle his housekeeper has told him about, and even though William is sad she’s leaving, now the castle is his! Willia
Paperback, 179 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Yearling (first published September 1st 1985)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,809 ratings  ·  781 reviews

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Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: moms with boys or boys under 14
Shelves: read-with-kids
I just read this to my 2 boys (ages 6 & 4) for a bedtime read & I was a little surprised at how much they loved it. It's about a boy who has an adventure with a play castle & knight which come to life. It isn't a book you have to edit at all in the reading & it's captivating to any little boy who wishes he could be a hero. I can't even tell you how fast those turkeys got ready for bed while we were reading this, I hope I can find another one that captures their attention as much because I've got ...more
Luisa Knight
When a book is hard to put down because you can't guess what will happen next and you're anxious to find out, you know you're holding a winner!

William is finding it very difficult to cope with his nanny moving away and leaving him. But when she gives him a parting present - an elaborate toy castle and a figurine of a knight - it not only helps ease the sorrow, but keeps him heading up to the attic to discover the castle's enchantment.

I was pleasantly impressed with the plot twists, loved the sto
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it
So I took a trip back to my elementary/middle school years with this one. I've read it before in 5th grade, but reading it again, I think I would recommend it for even younger kids than that. It's a pretty good story, but the plot is paced a little strangely. The book is halfway over before they even go into the castle and on their adventure, which makes it seem to me like the adventure part moves much more quickly than it should. I would have liked less of William's whining and self-pity and mo ...more
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
I remember this book being read to me by my teacher in 2nd grade and being awed by how awesome and compelling it was. Now as a young woman who just picked up this book again years later the magic still has not faded and is just as wonderful as it was all those years ago.

If you want to read a book that is very entertaining and will keep you turning the pages, this is the book for you. I know this book isn't obscure, but it totally needs to get more attention! The funny thing about this book when
I remember reading this as a child, though I don't remember if it was for an assignment or on my own. It was certainly the type of book I enjoyed then. As an adult, I can see the elements that appealed to me as a child, but I can also see some of the things I wouldn't have considered as a child. For one thing, though the main character is a boy, this is not a book for most boys. William is a very sensitive boy, who plays gymnastics, and cries periodically. The story is mostly about the castle he ...more
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children
I read this in elementary school and adored it. Somebody else described it as being "magical," and for a kid I would agree. Castles and knights and fantasy kingdoms-- the stuff kids' dreams are made of. I read it again in college for an adolescent lit. class, and, of course, as an adult it didn't have the same appeal. But, hey, it wasn't written for adults in the first place, so big deal if my grown-up mind wasn't as hooked as the child of yesteryear. I still give it four stars, merely because t ...more
Love of Hopeless Causes
I lost interest at about forty minutes. Seemed well written. DNF.
Elizabeth McDonald
This is one of those books that is always sitting on library shelves but that I never read--I just was never drawn to it. After reading it now, that feeling is confirmed. Admittedly I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I were eight and had read the whole thing in an afternoon instead of being 27 and spending three days of commuting to get through it... but it just didn't sparkle in any way.

Part of this may have been the quite mediocre audiobook presentation. It was full-cast, but the
Danica Midlil
Dec 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
I think this book is an excellent example of what adults think kids SHOULD like in books. All the Lessons are very heavy-handed and moralistic. The main character forever self-examines all his mistakes and regrets them earnestly. Everything this kid did was earnest! There was never a moment of silliness or sarcasm!
I do not buy that this kid is ten. No way! He comes across as years younger than ten. Perhaps a believable seven?
I think getting an intermediate grade boy to read this all the way th
J. Boo
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ds1, misspent-youf
Remembered this vaguely from my youth, picked up and re-read. Most of what I remembered of the plot was quite inaccurate.

Wasn't sure if DS1 (age 8) would like it, but he did, and has asked for the sequel. Hopefully this means that he's getting interested in fantasy - my list of suggestions for him is long!
Lars Guthrie
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enchanting yet odd little fantasy. William (definitely not Bill, or god forbid, Billy) is a sensitive and a bit of a loner. He has one other friend in his fifth grade class, and that connection derives from their shared social status. Outcasts.

William is dreamy, but also disciplined and driven as a gymnast. His parents are achievers and doers who have the best intentions, and very little time, for him.

The warmth in William's life comes from the English nanny his parents have hired, Mrs. Phi
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids 2nd grade and up, parents and teachers
Recommended to Jill by: I Found it at the Library
The Castle in the Attic
by Elizabeth Winthrop
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Great Fantasy, October 15, 2008

I enjoyed this book so much, I have listened to it twice.

William is ten-years-old when he finds out that his house-keeper/nanny is going to leave him. She says,"He is old enough to take care of himself now." William is afraid that with busy parents he will be left alone.
Before she parts for England, Mrs. Phillips gives William a very special gift. She
Dec 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Ten-year-old William is so distraught at the idea of his beloved housekeeper/nanny Mrs. Phillips returning to England that, with the aid of a magic token, he shrinks her into the size of the toy knight which inhabits a wooden castle that has been passed down in her family for generations. To undo his rash deed, William must be miniaturized himself and accompany the silver knight, Sir Simon, on a quest to overthrow Alastor, a wicked magician who long ago usurped the throne of what should have bee ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Indian in the Cupboard
Recommend this one for fans of THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
16-17 school year with L & N.

I give it 3. Kids would give it 4. They really liked it. I thought it was meh. But I do remember loving it when young as well.

It's a fun little read but it doesn't hold a candle to what we're reading now "Wind in the Willows"...lots of things lacking. I particularly thought that what William did to Mrs. Phillips was abominable.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was better when I read it in 4th grade.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A childhood favorite that still holds up as a solid book even now. I love the adventures William goes on and the lessons the author teachers (specifically to young boys). Through William, the author teaches that to be brave is to be noble, to have a good heart, to be kind to others, to be true to yourself, and to feel your emotions. At the beginning of the book, William is embarrassed by the fact that he is sensitive and cries. But by the end, he embraces it and doesn’t hold back his tears as he ...more
Kim Nguyen
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Classic book from my childhood.
It was an exciting book to read again! Full of adventure and magic.
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it
I remember really liking this book in elementary school so that is why the three stars. Otherwise I would have put it at a two as it is just "ok". Interesting plot-line, but the characters and the story seem pretty bare to me as an adult. It was interesting having a male gymnast as the protagonist, I can't recall seeing that in any other book. Good lessons for kids on being honest, brave, true, and gentle. ...more
Melody Schwarting
Very cute story about childhood attachments, bravery, and choices.
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Castle In The Attic” by Elizabeth Winthrop missed my radar when I was a child in 1985. It looked fun, adventuresome, inventive and certainly is. I look forward to obtaining its sequel. It is different than anyone might imagine. From the beginning, readers are unexpectedly encroached by such resonant emotion, we understand the ill-advised behaviour of the boy we follow. Career parents of William, a 10 year-old American, engaged a nanny all of his life. She hails from England and decides to r ...more
Oct 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Indian in the Cupboard fans, someone who feels racist recommending ndian in the Cupboard
Recommended to Jess by: fantasy "In the House" project
William receives a large medieval castle model and a knight figurine. While playing, the Silver Knight comes to life and puts William on the path to an Arthurian quest.

William is a little weepy and his attachment to Mrs. Phillips little long-winded (that's not the word but I can't think of one that fits and doesn't reflect something else.) Slow moving at the start but the quest part kicks it up.

I've heard it's enjoyed by elem. kids.

Obviously owes something to Indian in the Cupboard
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites from childhood. I need to read it again, but I remember loving it. I was probably in the fourth or fifth grade and I had to read this for a book report. I remember being so caught up in the story about a boy who enters his toy castle to fight evil. Obviously the details escape me, but check it out it's great.
Sep 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this book is really for any one who is in an adventerous mood. with this book being all about wizards and battle. William{the main character} finds this out when his housekeeper leaves him a present, a magical stone castle! you really need to read it to get the feel of medieval times.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best to read twice, as there's a superficial theme that's pretty obvious, and action & emotions, which serve to disguise a deeper theme. I know that I appreciated this much more the second time around. ...more
tipy (tommy)
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
I did not like this book. It was exiting in different spots. Even I enjoyed this book I will give it a two. I liked different spots. this is a ok book. And so " I SAY SO LONG BOOK". ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun book without too much scare factor. Would be a nice read aloud to younger children.
Faith M:)
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this book a few years ago, and LOVED it! :)
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars
Such a fun book! I thought I knew where the plot was going, but there were some great surprises! It was a perfect read aloud, and we’ll be reading the sequel in the future!
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Just finished a delightful revisit with an old friend! A student of mine had exhausted his current line of reading material, and though he's very advanced, he sees higher level reading material as disinteresting (he can comprehend it, but lacks the maturity for it), so I found this oldie but goodie on my shelf. He finished it in a day and said he noticed a sequel on the AR website. So, I ordered it and got it today. That sent me to my chair to enjoy this story once more, so that I, too can read ...more
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ELIZABETH WINTHROP ALSOP (, is the author of over sixty works of fiction for all ages, including ISLAND JUSTICE and IN MY MOTHER'S HOUSE, both available as e-books. Her short story, The Golden Darters, was selected by Best American Short Stories by Robert Stone and was recently read on SELECTED SHORTS by the renowned actress, Ann Dowd. Under the name Elizabeth Winthrop Al

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The Castle In The Attic (2 books)
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