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Castle

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  3,258 Ratings  ·  151 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
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published September 28th 1977 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1977)
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The glorious illustrations are what really does make David Macaulay's Castle an aesthetic and visual treat, as they are meticulously detailed, intensely informative, and really in all ways quite simply outstanding (appearing almost like minute and specific architectural blueprints at times). However, as much as I do appreciate (and even absolutely adore) the author and illustrator's pictorial offerings (although part of me would definitely want and desire at least some coloured illustrations ins ...more
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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David Macaulay is a British writer and illustrator who specializes in architecture and history. I remember I used to force my poor, beleaguered parents to sit through Pyramid (1988) with me, over and over and over. (Pyramid is excellent, by the way; if you ever happen upon a copy of it, you must watch it.) He also did another child-focused documentary called Castle, which I wasn't as interested in: this girl favored Egyptians over European
...more
booklady
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ray
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Orsolya
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
...more
Brian
I work in a library. Once, a patron came in asking for a book on the clarinet. There was a grimace about his face while flipping through a 300-page "introductory" course on the instrument. "Wait a second," I said. Returning with a much thinner book from the juvenile nonfiction section, I offered, "Try this one on for size." He smiled. "This is what I need! Just something to start with."

One thing I've found out is that juvenile nonfiction is often more helpful to adults than adult nonfiction. Sin
...more
elias
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully detailed drawings of the castle and all its parts. I like how he tells the story of not only what is a castle but why they built it and the progression of building it. I'm not sure what age this book is intended for but as an adult I still enjoyed it.
A
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
...more
SamZ
Jan 04, 2016 added it
Shelves: caldecott
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
...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
...more
Lorraine
Apr 01, 2015 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
Lisa
May 07, 2008 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
Cleverusername2
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
Mark Austin
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book took castles from being archetypal fairy-tale constructs to living environments with place and purpose. My imagination followed suit and soon my day-dreams and games of make-believe were rooted in reality no matter how fantastic.

I'd spend hours flipping just between those pages showing the growth of the town, my mind animating the empty years in between with strangely nostalgic imaginings. What was it like to be the thatcher that made just that little house there? Was it relief or disa
...more
Jennifer
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Heidi
Dec 29, 2013 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 memb ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
I am not a non-fiction reader, so all the details of castle-building weighed a bit heavily on me, but I could appreciate why this was a great book. Kids who are obsessed with castles, or with buildings in general love books with this level of detail, and this book makes all that dry information very interesting and readable. The illustrations and diagrams add a necessary visual component that contextualizes everything and really helped me stick with the text even when it really felt like too muc ...more
TRAM School
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Jessica
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Penny Johnson
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature-class
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.
Maggie
Jan 31, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Haley
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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
John
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Paula
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
Diane
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous children's book showing the design and building of a 13th century castle. The illustrations are fantastic!
Beverly
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-nonfiction
I also read the brand-new, in color edition that was published in 2010. I read that edition December 26, 2013.
Karen
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ellie, jacob, 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
Thienan Nguyen
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A really quick read! Macauley examines in depth and step by step how a castle and its surrounding town is built in Wales in the late 1200s. He details the workers, the tools used, the rooms, the weapons, the timeline, the way the village was set up and the various purposes specific aspects of the castle building were meant to serve. The illustrations were really detailed and painted a good picture of what the text describes. It seemed to be historically accurate too. However, beyond the precisio ...more
Tiffany
I liked this book, but at the same time, I didn't like this book. When I first heard of this book, I was expecting a lot more than the book offered. This book is meant for children entirely. The writing is for children, the drawings are for children, the condescending way that writer discusses the parts and history of the castle is meant for children. However, even if I was a child, I wouldn't like this book.

What I did like about this book:

1. Macaulay's book has wonderful illustrations that show
...more
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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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