Life in a Castle


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-7787-1375-X
DDC 728.8'1




Reviewed by Lisa Arsenault

Lisa Arsenault is an elementary-school teacher in Ajax, Ontario.


The 10 books in this wonderful series (more are scheduled to be
published) detail the medieval world circa 500–1500 A.D. Each volume
can be read as a stand-alone since important basic information (and also
some of the illustrations) is repeated in succeeding volumes. The titles
indicate the focus of each volume. The series’ coverage of the Middle
Ages is not restricted just to Europe—China, Japan, the Middle East,
and the Americas are also covered.

Each volume follows a standard format: a table of contents, text, a
glossary (explaining words that appear in bold type in the text), and an
index. Facts are presented clearly and concisely, and these are leavened
with interesting sidebars that feature such things as the origin of the
Easter Parade, recipes for gingerbread and stuffed pigling, and tips on
how to get rid of fleas. The facts the authors do include inspire the
reader to research further.

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words definitely
pertains to the series, which is replete with medieval drawings,
photographs, and maps. In addition, practically every page is richly
decorated with intricate, glowing borders, illuminated capital letters,
and swirling medieval fonts, rendering them beautiful and inviting to
look at. Charts and timelines elucidate the text, which is presented in
short chapters with clear headings. Because the volumes are arranged by
category, information is easy to find. These books—both singly, or
even better as a group—are highly recommended.


Eastwood, Kay., “Life in a Castle,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,