The Very Last Castle — 18 Comments

  1. Loved the book about finding the lonely person in the classroom, the sound effects matched the story later on…but also confused with the fact that she goes to hang out with a stranger….the illustrations were unique, but outright weird at times. I would have to read this over and over to find the true celebrations of the book. 2 of 5 stars.

  2. I liked this book once I got to the end. I was not comfortable with the girl going into the castle by herself and hanging out with an adult man, without telling anyone about it. The overall message was nice, and while I don’t think I would use it as a read aloud, it would be fun for kids to guess what might be in the castle.

  3. This is one of favorites of this year’s reads. I enjoyed the themes of “things are not always what they seem to be” and rumors/gossip. I will be strongly recommending this book to all students – AFTER I read aloud to all. It will lead into some great discussions about curiosity and discovery and drawing your own conclusions and kindness ore much more.

  4. This story is a beautiful story of curiosity and bravery. Simple text and simple pictures the address such an important idea. It is good to challenge our assumptions and traditions and to ask questions and be curious about new things. It keeps us from getting stuck and helps us to build relationships and enjoy the beauty of our diverse world. I would use this book in the classroom and as a read aloud for people of all ages. 5/5 stars

  5. Fun read. Relateable story for young students about being scared yet curious.
    This book shows students that your assumptions may not be correct. How many times do we assume something that proves incorrect?
    I may use this book at the beginning of the year in the hopes of getting students to try something outside the box, like maybe a different genre of book. The story makes a great read aloud. 4/5 stars

  6. This was a cute book with a few not so good issues. First, I agree with campers who thought it was odd that she went into the castle by herself at the invitation of a stranger. Bad idea. Second, it was a huge leap to go from everybody being afraid of the castle to it being basically a community center that would be run by Ibb. I understood the message of the story, but the actual storyline felt forced. That being said, I can see pairing this book with “Scaredy Squirrel” or “Let’s Go Swimming With Mr. Sillypants” and talking about how things that we are nervous about happening often don’t happen. I thought the illustrations were well done and I really liked that Ibb was part of a multiracial family, since that represents who my students are. Cute, but not incredible. 3/5

  7. I think that this book would work well for a lesson about making assumptions. I really appreciated the line, “Maybe it’s something terrible, Ibb thought one day, but maybe it’s something else.” We need to model for kids that they can think for themselves and come to their own conclusions, so I really appreciate that about this book.
    I thought this story was fine, but not great. I definitely wouldn’t call it “timeless” like they did on the front flap. I thought the jump from her getting a tour to all of the sudden maybe being the caretaker for the castle was a big leap.

  8. I really enjoyed this book about bravery, making unwarranted assumptions and ultimately friendship. I too could see it paired with Dr. Seuss’ “What Was I Afraid of?” and would use it to make predictions. I think it would be a great book to use at the beginning of the year as it lends itself to so many discussions we need to have at the beginning of the year when we are building community and establishing school/class expectations. I love Ibb’s “maybe, but maybe not” for unknown things, the kindness theme and take a chance. All these things are important in learning and as part of a school community. I certainly would use this book in my classroom.

  9. A cute story about a girl showing her community how brave she is and turning a community’s misconceived ideas around. In the end her bravery gives the town a new perspective and she makes a new friend. I would read this aloud to my 2nd graders. There are many possibilities for great discussion on looking into things more deeply and finding real answers to questions. Making predictions and writing different endings are also possible. I also liked the art work.

  10. I was expecting to like this book, but I was really surprised with how much I liked this book. I loved the way in which the author emphasized that the townspeople simply had ideas about what was inside the castle, not that it was a “known fact” as is the more common approach in fantastical tales. I also appreciated how Ibb’s doubt was portrayed with the approach of “maybe, but also maybe not”. I thought that was especially powerful in creating a character who is a careful thinker and observer.

    I would use this text in the classroom to talk about fears and how things we don’t understand can seem scary. While reading this book, I would ask students to make their own predictions about what’s inside the castle, using the sounds the townspeople hear as clues, and then reflect on what those sounds actually were when we get to the end. Finally, I would use this book as a way to discuss the power of being the one brave soul who steps outside of the norm. For Ibb, this meant that she held the power to change the life of William and how the whole town lives.

    Overall rating: 5/5 stars

  11. This is a very nice storybook. Cute illustrations and an interesting 2nd grade level story line are combined in a way that works. I don’t see myself using this as a lesson book, but it would be a fine addition to a school library.

  12. This was a fun book to read. I like how it took a child to find out what was in the castle instead of an adult. As adults we tend to do a lot of talking and assuming instead of asking and seeking answers. This is a great story to help children know that, using respect, it is okay to ask questions and get answers from adults. I give this book 4/5.

  13. This book is very well written and paces extremely well as a read aloud. It does keep the students in suspense. Fabulous book for pausing and making predictions! It would pair well with the Dr. Seuss story “What was I afraid of?” There are a lot of fun facts to share about where the idea came from, the author and illustrator appear in the book, and if you peek under the dust cover you can discover who was in the castle. There were alternative endings considered so it would be a fun exercise to have students share what they believe it could be! The ending is like the passing of the guard to a new generation who just happens to have a different perspective and all inclusive. For this and more interesting facts, check out this website! Rate book 5/5.

  14. I did like this book. The illustrations are cute and funny and the story is sweet and charming.
    I would use this book in storytime. It would fit well with a prince/princess storytime theme.
    I would recommend this as a classroom read aloud as I can see it prompting a rich discussion with second and third graders. It makes you think about your own assumptions vs. reality and how we often let fear of the unknown keep us from new experiences.
    5/5 stars

  15. I enjoyed this book. I loved the illustrations. I think the theme of taking chances and facing fears was expressed well. The story showed how the girl decided to take a chance even though everyone said stay away. This book would lead me to a read aloud to help my students understand it is ok to take chances because what you find in the unknow may be worth the chance.
    Rating 3/5 stars

  16. I thought this was a charming story and I loved the muted, watercolor like illustrations. I am always on the lookout for books for my students with strong female characters and this one didn’t disappoint. Ibb was a great example of someone who chose not to follow the majority and chose kindness. She is a courageous and curious girl who overcame the bias that was predominant in her community.

    This would be a great read aloud at the beginning of the school year because it is a great example of how to be kind to someone you don’t know. I can also see it used to teach the comprehension strategies of questioning and predicting. Of course, using this book to teach the concept of onomatopoeia would be effective.

    I rate this book 5/5 stars.

  17. I enjoyed this book, but found it a little odd too. I guess I was expecting the girl to meet a child in the castle. The meaning behind the book was overcoming fears and making new friends, but this was also an adult man she was hanging out with. I did not really like that part. If she was with a parent it would have sounded safer.
    If I used this book in the classroom I would use it as a read aloud. I would stop reading at the point before she goes in the castle. I would then ask students to write about what they think is in the castle and what will happen next. I would then ask students to form a circle and share their ideas.
    After all have shares I would finish reading the book.
    I rate this book 3/5 stars

    • I love how this story ended, how the girl took a chance, and how sharing is important. It has fun whimsical illustrations. I did not like the fact that the girl went back to the castle on her own and did not tell a trusted adult of what she had done. I would not use it as a read aloud because I don’t believe how she went about getting the answer to her question was a good situation to put herself in. I would only rate this a 5 out of 10.