King of the Castle


64 pages
ISBN 1-896764-35-5
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Kasia Charko
Reviewed by Sylvia Pantaleo

Sylvia Pantaleo is an assistant professor of education specializing in
children’s literature at Queen’s University. She is the co-author of
Learning with Literature in the Canadian Elementary Classroom.


Mr. Elliot loves his grandchildren and his daughter, and enjoys his job
as custodian at Jesse Lucas Public School. He has great sympathy for a
boy at the school who is experiencing reading difficulties, because he
himself is unable to read. Mr. Elliot’s negative feelings about his
lack of literacy skills are exacerbated by a series of events: his
granddaughter asks him to read stories to her, children at school ask
for his assistance with written material, and his supervisor encourages
him to complete an application form that could earn him a promotion to
the position of head custodian of the school in the forthcoming year.
Mr. Elliot begins attending adult literacy classes and, although he
questions his own abilities at times, he perseveres and learns how to
read. During an assembly at the end of the school year, Mr. Elliot
shares his story with the entire school.

In her acknowledgments at the end of the book, Kathy Stinson includes
information about the individual who inspired her to write the novel and
explains the significance of the name of the school in the story.
Stinson has created a realistic character whose thoughts and emotions
are very believable. Kasia Charko’s black-and-white illustrations in
each chapter complement this engaging story about literacy. Recommended.


Stinson, Kathy., “King of the Castle,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,