Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review: Tuesdays at the Castle, by Jessica Day George (Bloomsbury, 2011)

Recommended for ages 9-12

Princess Celie lives with her brother, sister and parents at Castle Glower, a castle that's alive much in the way Hogwarts is - rooms crop up when they're needed, and new staircases and passages appear seemingly at will. When her parents, King Glower and Queen Celina leave to attend their eldest son's graduation from wizard school and are reported missing after their carriage is attacked, Councilors and foreign dignitaries show up and start ordering Celie's brother Rolf - the heir to the throne - around. The Glower children, the castle staff, and Castle Glower itself all sense that something's wrong, and work together to get rid of the evil prince that's trying to take over Castle Glower - and bring their parents home safely.

Jessica Day George is great at writing princess books without all the saccharine included- her heroines are smart, funny, and can keep their heads about them when things are going crazy. Celie is no different, nor is her older sister, Lilah, which is a pleasant change from the "one beautiful and dumb, one smart and resourceful" sister that tends to pop up in YA and 'tween literature. Their brother, Bran, is an intelligent boy who can defend himself verbally and allies with his siblings and staff to brainstorm solutions and make things happen. Ms. George provides good character development and the action is well-paced. While mostly girls will likely gravitate to this book, there are strong male and female characters for young readers to be inspired by.

Jessica Day George's website has a section dedicated to Tuesdays at the Castle, in addition to her other books, appearances and news.

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