The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop

openlibrary pic

openlibrary pic

I decided to review The Castle in the Attic, Elizabeth Winthrop, (1985, 179 pages) because I was in the mood for a “classic” time travel story rather than a new tale. I had been having difficulty locating middle grade historical fiction relating to children working in textile factories. I had been searching for a book with this subject matter as a reference for the time travel book I am writing. I finally learned of the perfect historical fiction novel entitled, Counting on Grace. Imagine my surprise when I located The Castle on the library shelf, right next to Counting on Grace! I hadn’t realized both were by Elizabeth Winthrop. (You can use the Pinterest link at the bottom of this post to read my description of Counting on Grace on my Time Jump Coins board if interested.)

In The Castle in the Attic, 10-year old William is very upset that his nanny, who has helped take care of him his whole life, is leaving his family to go back to England. But, she does leave him a magnificent toy castle in the attic as a going-away present. Much as the boy in The Indian in the Cupboard, ( my earlier review here) realizes the tiny toy figure is alive, William realizes the knight figure that came with the castle is alive. Sir Simon was a real knight on whom an evil wizard named Alastor put a spell. Sir Simon would like to go back in time to England and vanquish his foe.

After weighing the decision a couple days, William decides to join Sir Simon on his mission. William shrinks down to the size of the knight, and together they go on a quest to rid the kingdom of the evil wizard. William must use not only his physical skills, but also his bravery and wits to defeat the enemy.

This was an absorbing story with a timeless plot. I’m afraid some older elementary boys might find William a bit babyish, however. Some might say he is over attached to his babysitter, and his connection with his stuffed bear is questionable. Younger elementary school boys though would probably find William admirable.


About Susan

I blog about middle grade and YA time travel books. I'm the author of Time Jump Coins.
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15 Responses to The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop

  1. Pingback: Mason’s Timepiece (Part 7) « Excursions Into Imagination

  2. Faith says:

    Wow, not sure how I never read this. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Susan says:

      Sure, and when I was visiting your blog just now I noted you like historical fiction. This one was light on history. So I might actually recommend the other book I just read by the author, Counting on Grace, even more strongly to you! That one had an immense amount of historical detail and was a beautiful story!

  3. Been some time since I’ve read this one. Seems a good time to pull it out and give it another read! Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I love features on books that were written some time ago. I haven’t read this even though I’ve seen it on my local library’s shelf.

  5. Joanne Fritz says:

    Yes! I remember this book. I read it aloud to my sons. You’re right about William seeming a bit babyish, but my sons loved the idea of the castle and shrinking down to fit into it.

  6. Gosh, I read this decades ago! LOL! I do remember enjoying it quite a lot. I noticed that you’re looking for MG books about kids working in textile factories. Have you read LYDDIE by Newbery winner Katharine Paterson? Lyddie is 10 in the mid 1850s and ends up in a textile factory. WELL-researched by a real pro writer! It came out in 1991, but your library probably has it. It’s on Amazon, too.

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  8. Pingback: List: Toys Come Alive Time Travel Books |

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  10. Pingback: Six Great Time Travel Classics for Kids |

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