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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
There is an old saying, “those who seek a friend without a fault remain without one.” This is so true and poor Reagan, left out from playing with her older sister, has her own difficult lesson to learn. Reagan’s sister wants to play with her friends, not with Reagan, and the younger sister must seek a means to entertain herself. Convinced that she can find her own castle and make up her own princess story to play all by herself, she finally finds the perfect castle – the play structure in the nearby park. Only a little boy turns up and wants to play, too. Reagan tries several times to send him away; she wants her make-believe castle all to herself. But when the boy finally does leave and Reagan is all alone, she realizes how lonely being by oneself really is.
Brooke Van Sickle’s picture book story, This is My Castle, provides young readers with valuable lessons on the importance of sharing, playing, and working together. Imagination is a great thing, but if it excludes others, perhaps it’s also a lonely thing. Reagan must learn that, although her vibrant imagination allows her to create the perfect play castle just about anywhere, her imagination also challenges the concept of being alone. Reagan must learn to play with others and to develop and nurture friendships. The story is beautifully told with bright and colorful illustrations to help move it along. Young readers will be wrapped up in this story quickly and they’ll be the first to recognize the message Reagan learns: friends are important and good, lasting friendships are well worth the work involved.