The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
Rating: G; 4 stars
Summary: The Castle Corona is a lively tale about a royal family (king, queen, princess, and two princes) and two orphan peasants. The king loves sleeping and hates his itchy robes. The queen hates always being less than the king. One prince is a poet, the other, a warrior. The princess is spoiled and rude, but doesn't seem to enjoy being this way. The two orphan siblings work hard for a mean master, just as many fairytale characters do. The book starts out with the peace in the kingdom being disturbed by a thief, the first in its history. As the book goes on, certain circumstances bring the royal family and the two orphans together. They all grow to love each other and...well that would be giving away the ending.
Opinions: This book wasn't at all what I expected. It was shelved in my library with teen books, when it probably really belonged with independent reader books, such as The Tale of Despereaux (more on that comparison will follow). However, despite it being a children's book, it was an excellent read. It reminded me a lot of Despereaux, which I absolutely devoured when it was released, and still find occasion to read at least once a year. It seems to me that they have the same target audience in mind: same genre, vocabulary level, themes and morals, etc. They were both printed not only with reading in mind, but also with sharing: each chapter of Corona is headed by a full-color illustration. And though the illustrations didn't appeal to me as much as Despereaux's (after all, who can resist a cute and cuddly mouse?), the fact that they were there was a delight. The book may have been told simply, but I feel that it is an excellent book for all ages nonetheless. It is a perfect "bedtime story" type of book: read a chapter or two a night, perhaps even alternate the parent and the child reading.
Now as for the 4-star rating, there was nothing in particular I didn't like about it, there just wasn't that "wow" that expect from a 5-star book. It is an excellent book, and I think readers of all ages and types will enjoy it to some degree.