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Castle: Eyewitness    by Christopher Gravett order for
by Christopher Gravett
Order:  USA  Can
DK Publishing, 2001 (2001)
* * *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

How did castles in France differ from castles in Japan? How did crusaders lay siege? What types of clothing did people wear in the Middle Ages? Did people really eat peacocks and cranes? Christopher Gravett's book Castle offers answers to all of these questions and many more. Young readers will be able to satisfy their curiosity about times long past with this detailed and beautifully illustrated book.

Gravett begins with descriptions of early castles, and then branches out into different types of castles, and variations between regions. He provides information on the uses of castles as well - from chapel to garrison. Inquiring minds interested in catapults, drawbridges, moats, and medieval weapons, will not be disappointed. Food, entertainment, clothing, and medieval jobs - from castle building to farming - all receive their own chapters.

Despite all of the detailed information Gravett offers, he still manages to fascinate. Readers are little aware that they are actually learning. Each page of the book offers a new discovery. As an adult, reading this book with a child, I found we were both entranced. Each section begins with a short paragraph of general description. Scattered across the pages are illustrations with small explanations.

Castle is almost like a treasure hunt as readers pore over medieval illustrations, color photographs, and pictures of authentic historical items ranging from coins to silverware, to combs made from bone, and to medieval leather shoes. The book is a thorough and fun read, for both children and adults. It refreshingly brings the past to life.

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