Do your kids enjoy reading adventure novels? My family enjoyed Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart. Here’s our review of this new book.
What Is Britfield & the Lost Crown?
Recently published in 2019, Britfield & the Lost Crown is a 386 page juvenile fiction novel. Though new to the book scene, it is already winning awards. Among others, this book won the 2019 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Book Awards, and was named an Award-Winning Finalist in the Children’s Fiction from the 2019 International Book Awards.
I received a soft cover version of this book. It is also available as an ebook, a hardcover, and through Audible as an audio book. I also received an 83-page study guide.
The Premise of the Story
Set in the United Kingdom, two orphans named Tom and Sarah are the main characters in Britfield & the Lost Crown. Tom really wants to know more about his identity and who he really is. He has spent the majority of his life in an orphanage in England.
Life in the orphanage isn’t easy. Instead of being called by their names, the children are all numbered. There are strict rules to follow and swift, harsh punishment is dealt out to deal with any infractions.
Tom’s one friend at the orphanage is Sarah. She makes life a little more bearable for him.
So, when Tom learns that his parents may be alive, he knows he has to find out more. His only clue is the word “Britfield.” Holding tight to the hope that he has a family, Tom decides to escape from the orphanage. And he can’t leave Sarah behind. So they plan their escape and with some help from the other kids, successfully get away.
After a bit of a chase from Detective Gowerstone (who specializes in finding missing children and runaway orphans), they wind up in a hot air balloon. They have several adventures across London (Canterbury, Oxford University, Windsor Palace, etc.) , as they try to figure out why the word Britfield is important, and what is has to do with Tom’s parents.
Along the way, the friends learn that Tom may be heir to the throne. And that his life could be in danger…
There are a lot of twists and turns throughout the book, and the ending was unexpected. Also, a ton of information about England is sprinkled throughout.
The Study Guide
The book was really well written, but I think my favorite part of reviewing this product was the study guide. It was remarkably well done. Designed as an 8-week study guide, this incredible resource breaks the book down into several parts. The first six chapters are paired (ie Chapters 1 & 2, 3 & 4) and then the rest of the guide focuses on individual chapters.
For each part, you’ll find:
- Vocabulary Section
- Comprehension Questions
- A Going Deeper Section
- A Learn More with Technology Section
The Learn More with Technology Section was my favorite. The kids and I used the computer to learn more about places, people, and events in the story. For instance, one day we looked up places from the book and learned more about them. We pulled them up on online maps and saw how far away they were:
Lots of Variety
The study guide had a great variety. Instead of just always having the same activities for vocabulary, it mixed it up. Sometimes there were questions. Sometimes there were crossword puzzles. The kids really enjoyed the variety, as it didn’t start feeling boring.
The Going Deeper section had a ton of creative learning ideas. These really hit a variety of learning styles. For instance, in chapter seven, one of the prompts is:
Pretend you are Tom or Sarah and your home is the Weatherly orphanage. If you were locked in your bedroom like Sarah was locked in the attic, how would you escape?
a. Draw a map showing your starting position, the layout of your home and yard, and the path you would take to get off the property.
b. Mark important areas on the map (such as a locked door, a window you must open, difficult terrain outside, etc.).
c. Below your map, briefly explain what each mark represents and how you would escape through that area (including what tools you would need, who you would ask to help you, etc
This was a fun project. And, we were able to tie it into the study we did last year on survival. We talked fire safety while we were drawing maps and practiced climbing out of a window on the ground level. Here’s Ellie explaining her escape route, which involves Grandma’s garden across the road and walking to the mall… ;D
The study guide does have an answer key for questions that have answers! That makes it easy for me.
The study guide is also beautifully designed. Here’s a peek at one of the pages. The subtle background is fun:
How We Used This Book
Since we are utilizing the study guide, we are moving through this book at a slower pace. Prior to beginning it with the kids, I did a quick read through. Though it’s several hundred pages long, the text is large and it’s a fairly easy read. I finished it in a week, just reading a bit in the evenings and during Family Reading Time.
Now that we’re going through it together, I’m reading the text aloud. Then we discuss the chapter and complete the study guide. We’re about halfway through the book now, and the kids seem to like it. Here are some of their thoughts:
I wouldn’t want to live in an orphanage! Life was really hard for Tom and Sarah so I’m glad they escaped and that the orphans helped them get out of there. I want to find out if Tom’s parents are really alive…
I didn’t think I’d like this book, but it’s pretty good. I think it’d be fun to visit the castles and I liked looking up pictures of them on the computer. Tom is my favorite character. I liked when they got in a hot air balloon.
This book is a great middle grade read. My fourth and fifth graders are working through it with me, though many of the younger kids listen when I read.
What We Thought of This Product: My Britfield & the Lost Crown Review
I really enjoyed reading this book, and am having fun reading through it with my kids. It’s part of a series, and since this one ended unexpectedly, I’m looking forward to reading the next one.
The writing is well done. The study guide is phenomenal. And, all in all, I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a new adventure series to try with your family. As a bonus, you’ll get to learn more about England as you read.