|Dragons at Crumbling Castle : and other tales|
Author: Pratchett, Terry
An illustrated collection of fourteen short stories featuring "dragons and wizards, councilors and mayors, an adventurous tortoise and a monster in a lake, along with plenty of pointy hats and a few magic spells" written when the author was a teenaged newspaper reporter.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 172945
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/14)
School Library Journal (02/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2014 As a junior reporter in his teens, Pratchett wrote children’s stories that were published weekly in his local newspaper. Fourteen are collected here, two of which formed the basis of his first novel, The Carpet People (1971). Other notable tales in this volume include “The Great Egg-Dancing Championship,” about two rivals who discover that they are on the same side after all, and “Dok the Caveman,” in which a highly inventive fellow has trouble fitting in with his prehistoric tribe. The closing story, “Father Christmas Goes to Work,” follows the larger-than-life title character as he tries out a series of new jobs. It’s a pleasure to read Pratchett’s reflections in his introduction and to see his signature warmth, wit, and intelligence light up these simple stories. Appearing throughout the book, Beech’s amusing ink-and-wash drawings perfectly capture the magic of the tales in a spirited style reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s illustrations. A good choice for the chapter-book set, this is highly recommended for reading aloud to younger children as well. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pratchett’s vast, all-ages fan base will be intrigued by these early offerings, while their accessibility and skillful storytelling will pull in young newcomers to the masterful author’s work. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2015 Gr 4–7—This collection of short stories is eerily reminiscent of Roald Dahl's tales of humor and irony, while the illustrations are remarkably similar to Quentin Blake's. In Pratchett's tales, dragons invade a castle, having lost their caves to a stopped-up river; itty bitty people live, explore, and fight within the carpets; an odd caveman keeps inventing things that then cause disaster (a fire burning down the village); and a champion egg dancer catches a pair of thieves. The oddness of the stories makes them funny and unique. Many feature British terminology, which might confuse younger readers but adds to the flavor of the book. General themes include good overcoming evil, cheaters never prospering, and courage defeating danger. VERDICT Middle grade readers who enjoy Pratchett's other works or Dahl's tales are bound to enjoy this one.—Heidi Grange, Summit Elementary School, Smithfield, UT - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2015 These fourteen stories for children that Pratchett wrote in his teens, as a junior reporter for a local newspaper, have been anthologized here with “the odd tweak here, a pinch there, and a little note at the bottom where needed.” The fourteen short tales vary in length and in their characters and setting (although several share the fictional town of Blackbury as their setting, and two stories feature “the Carpet people,” who later got their own novel, The Carpet People, BCCB 12/13), but all share Pratchett’s signature brand of humor. Although the stories, as a whole, are not as richly constructed as Pratchett’s later novel-length works, it’s clear that even as a youngster he had an excellent ear for a pithy turn of phrase (“The donkey, whose name was Pigsqueak, passed the time by singing comic songs in what wasn’t a bad singing voice for a donkey”) and a funny line of dialogue, as well as a knack for introducing creative plot twists. Wizards, dragons, royalty, Romans, explorers, villagers, taxi drivers, cavemen, and the odd abominable snowman make appearances (as do warriors unfortunately wearing “war paint and feathers”), and the narratives are by turns fantasy escapade (as in “The 59A Bus Goes Back in Time”), adventure story (“Another Tale of the Carpet People”), or meditations on the absurd (“The Great Egg-Dancing Championship”). Beech’s lively, casual monochromatic art has a Quentin Blake-esque flair, and the pop-eyed figures and their goofy posturing complement the droll text. The hefty page count and number of stories make it a bit hard to sustain momentum in one sitting, but as a book to be dipped into at intervals, this is highly enjoyable fare. JH - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.