Monday, May 23, 2016

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon - ESSENTIAL

Vernon, Ursula Castle Hangnail, 372 pgs. Penguin Random House, 2015. $16.99. Language:G ( 0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content:G; Violence:PG (some danger).  

Castle Hangnail is currently without a master.  So when the minions advertise, a 12-year-old girl named Molly appears claiming to be a Wicked Witch.  But first she has to prove her magical abilities to take possession of the castle, and if she doesn’t perform the required tasks from the Board of Magic within the next 6 weeks, the Board will decommission Castle Hangnail and the minions will be unemployed.  But magic isn’t Molly’s only problem - oh, she’s magical alright and can cast a great wicked spell (she turns a donkey into a dragon)  - but the castle is in disrepair and money, or treasure, is required to keep it habitable.  Where does a 12 year old get eighteen hundred dollars?  

I loved this book! The premise, the delivery, the pictures - all stellar!  Molly is totally age appropriate, acting like a 12-year-old, but the minions' humor and the "villains" bump up the age recommendation through middle school. The minions are gruesome without being gory, the wicked witch spells are inventive, and the lessons (about being nice and standing up for yourself) are spot on.  EL, MS - ESSENTIAL  Lisa Librarian

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