Monday, April 7, 2014

Tuesday's at the Castle

Tuesday's st the Castle

By:  Jessica Day George 
Published:  Bloomsbury Children's Book 2011 

"When ever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two."  ..."the only two rules the Castle seemed to follow." 
"Rule One:  The throne room was always to the east."
Rule Two:  "If you turned left three times and climbed through the next window, you'd end up in the kitchens, and one of the staff could lead you to the throne room or wherever you needed to go." 

Castle Glower is just like any other castle, well if those castles change rooms, add staircases, make rooms bigger/smaller, and is just well alive.  Princess Cecelia is just like any other normal princess living in the castle.  She loves the castle and well the castle loves her.  She can navigate it better than any other person and is even trying to map the castle and all its magic.  

The story starts with Cecelia (Celie for short) watching her parents leaving on a trip to see her oldest brother, Bran graduate from the College of Wizardry.  He is becoming a wizard because the castle has chosen him to be one.  Cecelia the youngest of the Glower children is being left with her older sister Lilah and the next in line to the throne, her 14 year old brother Rolf.  After two weeks of her parents being gone their parents carriage comes "barreling through the main gate and lurched to a halt just a few paces away.  The horses were lathered and blowing, and the carriage was filthy and battered...there was an arrow stuck in the carriage door."  Their parents had been ambushed by bandits and the injured sergeant said he believed them to be dead.  

They sent out soldiers with the sergeant to see if they could prove that their parents and brother were dead.  They could not find prof that they were dead.  Rolf was to remain in charge until they found proof.  While they were waiting the Council decided to take on two prince ambassadors from neighboring lands.  Prince Khelsh and Prince Lulath.  This was troubling because with the King missing presumed dead the kingdom of Sleyne was without a King until Rolf could be crowned and the "kingdoms around are watching very carefully thinking that we may be weak."  

Finally it was said that Celie's family were dead and they were to have a funeral.  The Glower children still did not believe that their father was dead they noticed that Rolf's room had not changed.  He told his family, "it's not bigger.  It doesn't have a royal seal on the wall, like father and mother's room does.  There is no padded stand for a crown, or room in the wardrobe for any robes of state.  I'm still just the crown prince."  They also go to their parents room and notice it is still the same.  The Castle always changes the way rooms are and picks it's own rulers.  If their room has not changed then there is not to be a new king.  They send Pogue a friend and admirer of Lilah to search for their family.  

George treats the castle through the book as a main character.  She does a wonderful job of bringing it to life.  It also helps the children by giving them hope for their family as we see in the previous section.  

Things get pretty bad for the Glower children.  The council decides that they will crown Rolf and make him rule under their regency.  They will tell him how to rule until he gets older.  Rolf does not like this and when Pogue returns stating that the Wizards and the College do not have any signs of Bran or their parents dying the children get even stronger in their decision to find their parents and defend their castle.  They also soon learn that Prince Khelsh is in with the council and wants to take over and kill Rolf.  The girls get threatened and the castle helps them to hide in a spy tower.  The castle also helps Celie spy on the council and play pranks on Khelsh and the other members. Celie learns that Khelsh arranged for her parents to be ambushed and killed so that he could take over the kingdom.  She decides they need to fight back and her and her brother and sister start to work against Khelsh and the Council.   The castle also makes their rooms small and barren showing the castles dislike.  George continues to pull us into the story by making us wait to see what the Castle will do next.  

The story escalates when Khelsh performs a ritual with the council on the castle.  After the ritual "a mighty groan suddenly seemed to emanate from every stone of the Castle, and every wall shifted a bit before settling back with a screech.  At that moment a great pain ran through Celie as though something had struck the top of her head and the blow had jolted the nerves all along her left side.  She reeled and fell again the wall."

"And it was dead."

What will the Glower children do now without the help of the castle.  Celie and Lilah also learn that they are stuck in the Tower.  Celie climbs out and tells all the servants, cooks, maids to leave the castle.  She also helps Prince Lulath and Rolf escape and has them go get an army together.  

With everyone out of the Castle Celie is alone and comes to be cornered by Prince Khelsh and one of the council members.  She sees her family and soldiers ready to attack but she is stuck.  She is almost caught and she takes out her stuffed animal Rufus to comfort her when suddenly "a lion, a winged lion --- a griffin, like the one on the flag of Sleyne stood between her and Khelsh now."  Khelsh was scared and Celie stepped back "plummeted to the courtyard below."  

Does Celie die?  Did Khelsh get what he deserved?  What is going to happen to the kingdom, the Castle?  

"I knew the Castle loved you best."  Celie's family including her parents take her to her room and Celie learns that the Castle caught her.  "The stones seemed to go soft under you, and you were lying there like an empress in a bed of silk when we reached you."  Khelsh was "carried off by that Griffin."  The kingdom is safe, her parents are safe, and the Castle is alive again.  

"I really have missed you,"  Celie murmured in her sleep to the Castle."  

This is a very easy book to read and is a great adventure that I think many children will enjoy.  The bond that the Glower children have is so loving.  They really help each other and care for each other.  It is just how I imagine brothers and sisters acting when something happens.  They of course fight and make fun of each other but when it comes down to it they love each other and stick up for each other.  I think this makes the characters more believable.  

Although this is a magical Castle and an imaginary Kingdom, George draws a picture that this is just any ordinary royal family.  She includes vocabulary that one might read about when talking about English royals of long ago.  The children have seamstresses, chambermaids, cooks, and servants.  George paints us a picture by describing their world.  Cecelia "put on her new black gown, which felt very stiff and grownup with a royal purple sash" "she checked with the housekeeper that the newly added rooms had linens and basins and chamber pots and everything else their guests would need."  "She send a footman to the stables and barracks....she made sure that Cook had everything she needed for the feast that night."  This page describes something that might happen at a castle and shows us that even though it has magic it runs like any other castle might.  

I love how the Castle cares for the Glower children and helps them out along the way.  This made the Castle not only feel like a person but also made you feel for the Castle.  The way Celie and the Castle were in tune with each made me feel like they were best friends and reminded me of the relationship and old family dog has with their owner.  They felt each others pain and sorrow. and cared for each other as we see on the last page when Celie says she missed the Castle and suddenly, "the curtains over her windows closed, and Castle Glower painted the ceiling of her room dark like the night sky twinkling with thousands of gem like stars."    They have each others backs no matter what 

I think this is a story with a feel good ending that boys and girls will both equally like.  

Read more about Jessica Day George and her other books.

This book also has a sequel Wednesdays in the Tower.  

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