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CASTLES by J. Patrick Lewis


Old Stone Poems

by J. Patrick Lewis & Rebecca Kai Dotlich & illustrated by Dan Burr

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59078-380-8
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Adopting similar tones and voices, two poets exchange generally somber observations in verse about 15 stone castles and palaces, plus a “Castle in the Air” from Viking legend. From “Mysterious Bodiam Castle, / Floating upon a pond” in East Sussex to Hearst Castle, occupied by “Sir Prince of Print,” each castle has a distinctive character, and receives a tribute laced with historical allusions. Included are Anne Boleyn’s sad end in the Tower of London, Leonardo da Vinci’s staircase in France’s elegant Chambord, Dracula’s (“The Count who loved to take blood counts / In very, very large amounts”) supposed connection to Romania’s Bran Castle, Richard II’s imprisonment in Austria’s Dürnstein and so on. Though readers who want detailed views of each fortress will have to look elsewhere, Burr sets the poems into spread-sized scenes of realistically depicted knights in armor, richly appointed chambers, dim stone passages and glimpses of looming walls or ruins, all of which strongly enhance the overall Romantic atmosphere. Dreamers will latch on to the poems and pictures; for young historians, the poets close with prose notes, a timeline and a robust reading list. (Poetry. 8-10)