The Very Last Castle

The Very Last Castle
Travis Jonker and Mark Pett
Abrams Books for Young Readers

In the centre of a small town stands a castle, the very last castle. Every day Ibb walks past it and notices up in a turret, the guard watching the passers by.

Speculations are rife about who or what is within. Could it be monsters, or giants; snakes even?

They certainly make snaps, thuds and hisses. Ibb however is ready to be more open minded “Maybe it’s something terrible … but maybe it’s something else,” she thinks. She decides to investigate but what happens makes her run away in fright.

Shortly after she receives an invitation. Stay away comes the advice, but come Sunday Ibb ventures forth and does something nobody else in her town has done: she enters the grounds.

What she discovers isn’t monsters, giants or snakes: a warm welcome from the guard awaits. He shows her around and finally reveals what he wants – someone brave and curious to take his place.

Ever thoughtful, Ibb agrees but with a proviso and eventually the castle grounds become a welcoming place for everyone.

Beautiful illustrations by Mark Pett in pen and ink and watercolour, combined with Travis Jonker’s spare text create a lovely tale of curiosity, courage, reaching out and creating community.

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