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|Castle in the mist|
Author: Ephron, Amy
Sent for the summer to their aunt's sleepy village in the English countryside,Tess and Max find the key to a castle hidden from time and learn that wishes can come true, if they wish carefully.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 188338
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 70910
Kirkus Reviews (11/15/16)
School Library Journal (01/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2017 It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be much to do in Tess’ aunt’s quiet little English village, but that’s where Tess and her brother Max are planted for the summer. Of course, that’s exactly the sort of place that lends itself to magical adventures in fantasy novels, and this village doesn’t disappoint, as Tess quickly encounters a mysterious boy named William of whom nobody has heard, carnival rides that must be paid for in wishes, and other unusual elements. There are scenes, particularly on the carousel that is a key location in the novel, that are transcendent in their beautiful, ethereal descriptions; these are the spots where the talents of Ephron, an adult author trying her hand at books for kids, come through the most clearly. However, the book hits some wrong notes (the sibs’ mother’s illness is disclosed to the readers up front but never to the protagonists themselves), and the magic plot pairs uncomfortably with a non-magical mystery about who William is (and when he was actually alive) and what’s up with an old untended house. Readers who don’t mind these issues may appreciate this short, ultimately uplifting novel about family and connection. AS - Copyright 2017 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 11/15/2016 After their mother is hospitalized for a serious illness while their father, a war reporter, is in Afghanistan, Max and Tess are sent away to spend the summer with their aunt Evie in the English countryside. One day, Tess discovers a mysterious castle with a gate that magically opens with an old key she finds buried in the dirt. Inside, she meets William, a young boy about her age. Soon, Tess, Max, and William spend heaps of time together exploring the castle and its wondrous contents, like a carousel whose horses come to life and a supernaturally lively sculpture garden, but they always steer clear of the ominous Hawthorne hedge. Before long, however, Tess and Max have to uncover the castle’s secret. This beautiful story’s quiet, peaceful tone nicely evokes both the serenity of country life and the haunting magic of the castle, and the emotional heft of Tess and Max’s separation from their parents, as well as their strong bond, keeps the tale firmly grounded in reality. Perfect for middle-graders who love classic fantasy. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 3–6—It's been a topsy-turvy year for Tess and her brother Max. Sent away from their New York home to a boarding school abroad, they are now spending the summer in the English countryside with their aunt Evie. Isolated and bored, Tess stumbles upon a mysterious gate atop a hill beyond her aunt's home. She unlocks the gate and discovers beautiful castle grounds and a boy her age named William. Tess is quickly charmed by William's earnestness, and the two develop a fast friendship, despite the curious circumstances surrounding the castle's sudden appearance and William's cryptic warning to avoid hawthorn trees. Strange happenings occur at the castle, and events become subsequently stranger each visit, culminating in Max's disappearance. Though the story is set in the present day, the use of old-fashioned, sentimental prose works well. References to the lack of Wi-Fi and Tess's father reporting from war-torn Afghanistan help ground the book as a contemporary tale. There is also an undercurrent of danger that adds a layer of depth and suspense to the storytelling. Readers new to the fantasy genre will appreciate the conflict Tess feels: she is torn between doubting the fanciful episodes and embracing the existence of magic and other worlds. VERDICT A slightly darker, updated take on magical realism classics such as Edward Eager's Half Magic and E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle.—Sophie Kenney, Vernon Area Public Library District, IL - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.