I have given today's book a 5* rating, which goes to show that kids books can be enjoyed as much by adults as by kids, and I would highly recommend that you pick this book up no matter how old you are!
I was kindly sent The Castle of Inside Out by the lovely people at Alma Books in exchange for an honest review :)
The Castle of Inside Out follows Lorina, a young schoolgirl who embarks on one of the biggest, weirdest and important journeys of her life. Desperate for information about the Castle that lies beyond the other side of the forest for a school project, Lorina follows a rather pompous and irritable rabbit through a wood, and ends up at the Castle where she she hopes to find all the answers she is looking for. Unfortunately, Lorina's trip to the Castle leaves her with more questions than answers, and she is determined to find a way to restore justice for the green people who live outside the castle, and bring the evil 'insiders' to understand the counteract the consequences of their behaviour.
Intrigued? Read the blurb here...
Lorina, a young schoolgirl, is led by a black rabbit through a wood to a magical land. There she finds a race of green people, who are all overworked, starving and subjected to the toxic fumes billowing out of a nearby castle. She decides to gain access to the castle for the poor green people, and within its walls she meets the insiders , selfish creatures who hoard all the resources and treat the outsiders as slaves. Her quest leads her to encounter the bureaurat, the superviper, the farmadillo and, eventually, the awful Piggident himself. Will she be able to save the green people from the cruelty of these insiders ? Wonderfully illustrated by Chris Riddell, The Castle of Inside Out is an unforgettable and hilarious tale of adventure, set in a world where greed must be fought by the courageous and compassionate heroine.
I didn't know anything about this book prior to reading (apart from the blurb) so I really didn't know what to expect. What I found upon reading was a wonderfully told, hilariously written adventure story with compassion and an important moral message at its heart. The Castle of Inside Out is an adventure book kids of all ages will love, with an Orwell twist that brings this book to the forefront of essential childhood reading, to get kids thinking about what makes a good society, and the issues that we should be concerned about as human beings.
I was immediately drawn into the story through Chris Riddell's illustrations, which obviously were beautifully detailed and wonderfully atmospheric, brilliant at depicting Lorina's world. As there were a few weird and wonderful creatures that Lorina meets on her quest, and it really helped to be able to visualise what Wilson was describing. I think this really works for kids who prefer visual aid when reading and comprehending a story - one is never too old for pictures in books, in my opinion!
As for the actual story, I loved it. If I was reading The Castle of Inside Out as a kid, I would have revelled in the interesting and caricatural characters, the vivid language and the bravery and determination found in Lorina. As an adult, I adored all of these things, along with the Orwellian characteristics that brought the book to life. The dialogue was hilarious and there were many moments where I actually laughed out loud. The fantastic wordplay and creatively constructed villains (the superviper, the bureaurat, the farmadillo and the Piggident) were fantastic in making this a book I simply couldn't put down. This book has been described as Animal Farm meets Alice in Wonderland and I can see why. With themes such as charity, responsibility, care for the environment and greed running throughout, it would be hard to find a better book for children that encourages care for others and the world around them. And with all the awful things that are happening around the world at the moment, it is important that we teach kids that care for other people is at the heart of a better society and a more hopeful future.
I would say that this book would be suitable for children seven and up, but I would honestly say that this book can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages - I adored it and I'm sure that you will too!
Remember to check back next week for another children's book feature <3
Buy The Castle of Inside Out here.
Check out David Henry Wilson here: http://theagency.co.uk/the-clients/david-henry-wilson/
Check out Chris Riddell here: http://www.chrisriddell.co.uk
Until next time :)