Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George is a delightful middle grade novel that is sure to entertain boys and girls alike. The premise is simple. There is a magical castle that does severe interior redecorating on Tuesdays all by itself.
The new rooms, wings, or additions to Castle Glower are entertaining, and sometimes helpful, but mostly inconvenient to the people that live there. How’d you like to rediscover where the bathroom is every week? Well, Princess Cecelia (aka, Celia, Celia-delia & Celie) loves discovering. In fact, her goal is to make a map of the castle—a daunting task given its tendency to rearrange itself every week.
Unfortunately, Castle Glower and its lands are in a strategic position for warring neighbors. When King and Queen Glower go missing after an ambush in the wilderness, and the King’s counselors team up with the warlike Prince Khelsh from Vhervhine, it’s up to Celie and her siblings to delay the sneaky coup until their parents can be found. Good thing the Castle is on their side.
As a middle grade novel, Tuesdays at the Castle is written in an accessible way, even when dealing with the political machinations of court. Your children are sure to love the main character, Celia, and the antics she gets up to with the Castle. I say “with the Castle” because the Castle is a character as real as Celia’s brother Rolf & and sister Lilah. Not that the Castle has any speaking lines, but it certainly has a sense of humor. Its revenge on the occupying forces will have your kids in giggles.
I believe George’s cheeky wit helps this story remain middle grade friendly while still being entertaining to older readers. I especially liked Prince Lulath’s entertainingly broken English. The villains weren’t as well developed, often as two dimensional as some of the paintings adorning the Castle’s walls, but they still proved to be nasty foils for the children to rebel against.
As a concept, I especially enjoyed the magical castle as a main character. Celia proved to be a necessary voice to bridge between the silent walls of the Castle and the human world. George balanced the politics of land-grabbing nations eager to annex Glower’s demesne with entertainment for young readers. I can’t wait to read this to my younger kids. It was a very good read.
Release Date: October 25, 2011 (USA)
ISBN: 1599906449 (9781599906447)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Violence: 2 (battles, kidnapping, altercations with manure, swordplay, and child endangerment)