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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech

Long ago and far away….
Um… I just wanted to start that way because this is a story about castles, queens, and kings.

I was wary about giving Susan Creech another try since I just banished one of her books to the DaVinci pile, but I’m glad I gave this one a chance. It’s a fine little medieval tale, and even on high-alert, I didn’t find any major objections…

It's a fun tale overall of a royal family, 2 peasant children, and a couple hermits. It begins with a theft. Someone has stolen a pouch with 2 medallions. Two peasant children, Pia and Enzio, find the pouch. They wear the medallions under their garb; therefore, when the king’s soldiers ride through the village and grab them both, they believe they are heading to the dungeon.

In fact, they are being taken to Castle Corona to be food-tasters for the king. The king’s life is in no real danger, but he is a bit uneasy with a thief about. While at the castle, the prince falls for Pia, the thief is discovered, and the mystery of the medallions is solved.

It’s an interesting character study. The royal children are questionable heirs due to failings such as shallowness, aggressiveness, and vanity. The Queen has grace and thoughtfulness on her side, and we see she acquired these by virtue of adversity, unlike her insulated offspring. The King is a gentle ruler. It all wraps up smoothly as a satisfying-enough tale.

Teaching Moment: The book fails to reach any depth because despite being in the medieval period, the only glimpse of the richness of the Catholic faith is a wooden cross offered to the Queen’s hermit to put on the wall. The hermits are acquired by the royals for “enlightenment and wisdom.” These are noble but vague concepts more in keeping with spirituality-lite than what would actually have been a pursuit of holiness for a medieval hermit with wisdom and enlightenment being the side effects.

See Catechism of the Catholic Church
Wisdom as Gift of Holy Spirit: 1831
Meditation: 2705 2708

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