There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday; Illustrated by Rob Biddulph

You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but I did in this case. The design is sweet and I thought it might be right up my nine year old’s street. Unfortunately (and for this I am apologetic) but I can’t tell you how annoying I found this book.

IMG_2125Mouse – an eleven year old who still lives in a make believe world in his head, is in a car with his family traveling through a snow drift (I think this book is set in the UK which makes this impossible unless he lives in the wilds of the Highlands). His mum carries on driving in spite of terrible snow (so frankly I think she’s an idiot). She crashes the car. Mouse is not wearing a seat belt (again hello!) and is thrown through the windscreen. Following this horrific accident the remaining family members are either unconscious and bleeding (the mum – I know, a bit dark) or dazed and confused (the thirteen year old – who still wears a pirate costume and a pair of frog wellies  – and a small baby who can only say the word chocolate). I mean maybe the world would be improved if more thirteen year olds wore frog wellies and dressed up as pirates but that’s a moot point.

Mouse then tries to find a castle while he wonders around on foot, presumably because he was thrown through a windscreen and therefore is not conscious and walks the journey in a story-like state. The story he lives through is quite fun – dinosaurs, minstrels, sheep, that kind of thing – and references his favourite game on the iPad.

This is another niggle – I can’t cope with the references to modern technology. Not only do we have iPad games as a theme in the book, but several references to Instagram which Mouse shouldn’t be on because a) he’s only 11 and b) he clearly isn’t a very mature 11 year old. I have ever growing concerns about his mum’, grasp on parenting.

Mouse is trying to find a castle and his sister tries to follow him through the snowstorm.

The ending is a surprise which, well I didn’t like.

I rarely feel like this about a book and feel sorry for reviewing it like this to be honest, but there you go. It’s a popular book and a popular writer so I’m sure it will be successful, but not one I’ll be recommending unfortunately.

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