Teaching Ancient Civilizations with Children’s Literature: Castle Under Attack

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Introduction and Summary

Castle Under Attack written by Nicola Baxter and illustrated by Roger Harris is a book that paints a fascinating picture of everyday life in the Middle Ages.  This historical fiction story uses Lego characters to make reading exciting and fun for young children.  Throughout the book, there are informational boxes that are full of background information and give real examples of what life was like in a community during the Middle Ages.  King Leo and Queen Leonora decide to hold a feast at their castle.  An information box describes a castle as being “built in the Middle Ages.  People and animals were safe there if an enemy attacked.”  For entertainment during the feast, they held a tournament with contests.  During the festivities Cedric the Bull, the enemy plotted to attack the castle.  Since Cedric the Bull did not succeed at the initial attack, they decided to take the King’s daughter, Princess Storm instead.  In the end King Leo and his men surround Cedric the Bull’s men and get Princess Storm back.  The bad guys were put in the dungeons and the feast continued.

Curriculum Connections

This book is a super resource for teachers to help students identify how community life in the past is different from present day community life.  It also helps young children to see how the daily lives and roles of people in society has changed. (History SOL 2.3)  The lesson that is trying to be taught along with the story of character and value is a wonderful example of civics and the traits that make up a good citizen. (Civics SOL 1.10)  Lastly this is a great book to encourage better language arts skills because it challenges a young reader with longer sentences and expanded vocabulary.

Additional Resources

  • Kids-Castle is an interactive website that lets you explore a castle by scrolling over different areas of the castle and clicking on them to see more information about that area
  • Informational coloring page that contains vocabulary words pertaining to castles that students can color
  • A word search that contains words about the parts of a castle

General Information
Book
: Castle Under Attack
Author: Nicola Baxter
Illustrator: Roger Harris
Publisher: Tandem Library
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0613244982