Wednesdays in the Tower

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George

Wednesdays in the TowerThis is the sequel to one of our favorite chapter books, Tuesdays in the Castle.

We return to magical Castle Glower, and to Celie (a strong and resourceful young princess) and her family.  Castle Glower is behaving strangely.  Oh, it still is creating new rooms, or moving rooms around on Tuesdays (when King Glower, Celie’s father, hears petitions), but the castle is doing peculiar things that start to worry the royal family.

Castle Glower shows Celie a new tower room (on a Wednesday), reached by stairs that go beyond the school room, and only appear to Celie.  And, there is an egg – Celie is sure it is an egg – shaped like a pumpkin, and orange, and hot, resting in the middle of the room.  Celie is not sure what kind of egg it is, and hopes it won’t turn out to be a dragon egg.

Still, Celie is drawn to the egg.  She brings up blankets and pillows, and spends time sitting with the egg, reading, and talking to the egg.  The castle brought her to the egg, and isn’t showing it to anyone else, so Celie is sure the castle wants her to take care of it.

When the egg hatches, and the baby griffin imprints on Celie, things get pretty tricky.  Celie manages to get the baby griffin, whom she names Rufus, to her room, but runs into her elder brother, Bran, the royal wizard on the way.  Celie swears Bran to secrecy, and Bran puts a spell on her door to make people think they’ve already done what they came to do, and continue on their way.  Castle Glower approves of Celie telling Bran, and Pogue (a family friend), but won’t let her tell her parents or her other brother or sister — when she tries to tell any of them, the castle slams a door, or drops something down a nearby chimney.

Celie and her other brother, Rolf, begin looking for clues to Castle Glower’s history – why is there a griffin on the flag?  Where do the rooms come from, and where do they go when the castle makes them appear and disappear?  Celie and Rolf collect everything they can relating to the history of the castle, and everything they can find with griffins on it – tapestries, pillows, even an anvil.

Celie finds taking care of a young griffin a bit challenging – especially as the castle wants her to keep it a secret.  She asks the castle for help:

“I’m trying to take care of Rufus, really I am…and I’m trying to be mindful of your wishes and not tell anyone by Bran about him.  But you have got to work with me.”

Castle Glower responds by cleaning up her room, repairing damage Rufus has done to it, providing water and food for him, and a new feather bed for Rufus.   The castle also adds a new door in her room, leading up to a new tower – with empty space, woven floor mats, assorted toys, and a water dish – a new playroom for Rufus.

Castle Glower continues to do strange things – special rooms appear out of season; a second stables appears – one that doesn’t seem built for horses; rooms shift in ways that make getting around the castle more difficult; and Celie and her family become more aware of a twisting sort of feeling in their heads each time the castle moves rooms, or changes.  The arrival of a high wizard, whom the royal children don’t trust, adds to the feeling that something is wrong.  Celie feels that Castle Glower is in danger.

Readers learn some history of Castle Glower – where it came from, how it got there, and even a bit about where the rooms are when they aren’t in the castle with Celie and her family.  Rufus grows rapidly and learns to fly – Celie learns to ride him.

The book ends with Celie, Rufus, and some trusted siblings and friends at the beginning of a new adventure – one that will save Castle Glower from whatever danger it faces.  I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

 

Tuesdays at the Castle

I try to avoid princess books unless the young royal in question is a very strong character who takes matters into her own hands.  Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George has a main character who is strong, creative, quirky, and, oh yes – a princess.

Princess Celie is the youngest child of King Glower the Seventy-ninth and Queen Celina.  The royal family lives in Castle Glower, a castle that seems alive and magical at times.

For instance, if Castle Glower finds a visiting dignitary annoying it might move the dignitary’s rooms to, say, next to the stable’s manure pile.  The castle seems to know people well.  It sent the message that the oldest royal son wanted to study magic by providing books in his room while moving the next oldest royal son’s room closer to the throne room indicating that he should be the official heir.

Princess Celie loves Castle Glower.  And, Tuesdays are her favorite days because, “whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two.”  And, that usually happened on Tuesdays when King Glower was hearing petitions.  Celie knows Castle Glower better than anyone else.  She has a large book filled with maps she has drawn of the various rooms and corridors of the castle, updated as they shift and change.  Celie knows all the secret passages, and all the trick ways to get to different rooms.  For example, if you turn left three times then climb out the nearest window you will end up in the kitchens.

When King Glower, Queen Celina, and their oldest son disappear – with signs of a successful ambush on the road – and representatives from the neighboring kingdoms come to “advise” the royal Glower children, Celie leads her sister and brother in foiling a plot to overthrow the family and take over the kingdom.  Castle Glower helps Celie and her siblings in their efforts.

According to author Jessica Day George’s website, inspiration struck and everything clicked into place for this book.  She also hopes to write more than one adventure for Celie, making Tuesdays at the Castle the first book in a new series.

I really enjoyed this book, as did my young readers.  Some points are serious, and others are very humorous.  I found myself rooting for Celie as she outsmarted (sometimes aided by the Castle) those out to harm her family.  Twists and turns (and changing corridors), evil plots, funny revenge, a protective castle, and a strong, intelligent girl make for a wonderful story.

There is a sequel now:  Wednesdays in the Tower.  I recommend both books!