Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Princess Celie’s favorite day of the week is Tuesday because that’s the day Castle Glower usually grows a new room or two, or a turret, or passage. Castle Glower’s favorite person is Princess Celie, the only one who has ever tried to explore and map the ever-changing structure. Castle Glower is not shy about making its opinion known. When the Castle decides Prince Rolf should be the King’s Heir, he awakes one day to discover his bedroom has been moved next to the throne room. Unwelcome guests find their quarters growing smaller and shabbier, while favored residents are housed in spacious comfort in Tuesdays at the Castle, by Jessica Day George.
When the King and Queen disappear--ambushed and presumed dead--visitors from foreign lands arrive suddenly to advise Celie, Rolf, and their sister, Lilah, during the time of transition. But the Castle seems to know that something isn’t right and the plotters underestimate the Castle’s abilities. They also underestimate the courage and intelligence of the Royal children. The Castle creates a turret, stocked with useful items, that appears when Celie and her siblings need it. It provides a passage to a hidden room where the children can overhear the council’s scheming--complete with a magic cloak that muffles sound so the children will not themselves be overheard. Celie’s maps and her relationship with the Castle are the keys to saving the kingdom, the castle’s inhabitants, and the castle itself.
In this marvelous fairy tale, Princess Celie shares center stage with Castle Glower, truly a character in its own right. But Jessica Day George does a wonderful job of bringing all of the characters to life, from the foppish Prince Lulath with his tiny dogs to the menacing Prince Kelsh.
I found myself completely swept away by this story. While written for a middle grade audience, Tuesdays at the Castle is destined to have a wide appeal and is a must-read for anyone who enjoys fantasy or fairy tales. In particular, fans of Gail Carson Levine will enjoy this tale of a spunky young heroine whose intelligence and bravery save both castle and kingdom.