"Tuesdays at the Castle" is a welcomed addition to the fold of middle grade fantasy. Like Utah author Jessica Day George’s previous works, her newest novel brings a spunky main character, plenty of intrigue and witty dialogue. Pair that with the castle featured as a character in the story, and it’s a winning combination that middle-grade readers will love.
Princess Cecelia, or Celie as she’s known, has explored every crook and cranny of Castle Glower. Well, as much as she can for a castle that adds new rooms and turrets each week — generally on Tuesdays.
When her father and mother, the king and queen, are ambushed and wind up missing, Celie enlists the help of the castle in preserving the kingdom.
The story then begins on a wonderful adventure of Celie and her siblings outsmarting the adults and helping the castle put everything back in their rightful place.
Young readers will love the pranks that Celie, Rolf and Lilah play on the intruders in the castle. These pranks and antics are complimented by funny and playful dialogue. However, underneath the light-hearted humor is an element of grief and mourning for the loss of the king and queen that was heartbreaking.
Even more charming, if it were possible, is the way that Castle Glower responds and assists Celie. While trying to root out the intruders, the castle assists by creating ramps to the offenders rooms so that wheelbarrows of manure can be brought in to put in wardrobes and the bottoms of shoes.
The castle also makes its will known by creating spacious, luxurious rooms for those it likes, and small, cramped quarters for the more nefarious guests.
This book is suitable for a very young audience. Though darker subjects are mentioned (assassination attempts and a few fights), they are handled in a delicate manner that will be great for kids, but not so sterilized as to remove all tension from the story.
Romance is limited to a cute crush between Lilah and Pogue.
"Tuesdays at the Castle" should be quickly put into the hands of readers that love fantasy. It will be a great fit for those who have enjoyed George’s other works, especially "Dragon Slippers," as well as "Ella Enchanted" and "The Goose Girl."
George will be signing "Tuesdays at the Castle" on Oct. 15 at the King's English Bookshop and it will be released on Oct. 25.
IF YOU GO ...
What: Jessica Day George book signing
When: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City