This is a very good book, though I wouldn't exactly call it a "children's book". I'd be more entitled to call it a "preteen book." The villains are actually evil, which isn't very common in "children's books" but the book is easy to read and would be suitable for anyone 10 and up. There are uses of damn and hell, and also bloody. There is much violence inplied: ("I'll cut out your tongue!" says Basta frequently) but little of it actually happens. As is said above, the main character is in a lot of danger most of the time, as are her acquaintances. The main character is a great role-model because she is very brave, and I believe this book teaches a whole lot more respect for books, and it may inspire kids to read more, especially the books mentioned in the story. There is a tremendous amount of imagery, but I enjoyed it a whole lot, the slow pace doesn't make the book difficult to pay attention to at all... on the contrary. Ten and up should definitely give this book a try, along with Funke's other great book, 'the Thief Lord.' The kids that I have known to read this book has also developed a larger lust of reading than most kids, because it describes books so well. There is also a good relationship between the main character and her father. It's pretty hard to be dissapointed in this book. One of the reviews on the book cover say that it's a good Harry Potter alternative. I don't agree that it's an alternative, but I do agree that you should read them both, because they are both most definitely worth reading.