Just Imagine

Our Castle by the Sea

Authored by Lucy Strange
Illustrated by Helen Crawford-White
Published by Chicken House

Having loved Lucy’s first book, I was excited to see that she had written a new title set on the Kent coast during the Second World War.

Our Castle by the Sea is about a family being torn apart amid rumours of espionage whilst enemy planes fly overhead.

Petra lives in a lighthouse with her elder sister, Magda, her lighthouse-keeper father and her mutti. Pet’s world has always been one of secret tunnels, mysteries and storms, but once war is declared, things get worse as her German mother is accused of spying and kept in an internment camp. Meanwhile, her father also seems to be keeping secrets and her sister’s growing distant.

I would recommend this text to use in the classroom as it looks at the Second World War from the perspective of a normal family, living on the Home Front, rather than being focussed on the battlefield.  It includes lots of accurate historical details and beautiful language, all whilst being steeped in the myth of ‘The Four Sisters’ guarding the lighthouse and ‘the wyrm’ waiting in Dragon Bay to devour lost ships. Poetic, haunting and unforgettable I can imagine Upper Key Stage Two children getting drawn into this tale of espionage and fierce familial love.