YE CASTLE STINKETH:
Could You Survive Living in a Castle?
By Chana Stiefel
Copyright Enslow Publishers 2012
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When you’re writing a book about the “yucky” castles of the Middle Ages, and you learn that besieging armies would fling dead cows over castle walls to spread disease, you know you have your intro. The rest of this book–from stone toilet chutes that emptied into moats to moldy, rat-infested food storage—pretty much wrote itself! I’ll take my humble abode over a dark, dirty, and drafty castle any day!
Booklist Review by Daniel Kraus, October 1, 2011
“Armed with perhaps the best title of 2011, this entry in the Ye Yucky Middle Ages series explains the inner workings of a castle—and why they were so disgusting. From enemies catapulting rotting animal carcasses over the wall, to the feasts of calves’ feet, to bathrooms that were little more than closets full of feces, Stiefel’s text suggests that castles were basically (shudder) “a giant dorm room” roughly the size of a football field. Crowded, filthy, smoky, and laden with rats and lice, these were indeed, as one chapter heading calls them, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Stinky.” Kelley’s gleeful illustrations are darn near Disneyesque and helped along by random splashes of slime—just, you know, for atmosphere. Glossary terms are in red, and they’re unusually fun. (Do you know the definition of a murder hole?) A colorful, wacky take on a pleasurably unpleasant topic.”