The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum Book Poster Image
Wistful fantasy weaves a mesmerizing spell.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this unusual book has a dreamlike, magical quality that may confuse younger readers yet entrance others. Those who like fantasy will love it.

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What's the story?

Children who visit the museum peer in at the girl in the castle in the globe. At the same time the girl herself peers out, and wistfully yearns for the company of the children, and the reader.

Is it any good?

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE INSIDE THE MUSEUM is a layered story that weaves in and out, up and down, to form a fascinating fantasy. The haunting scene of a wispy, wistful girl peering into the glass case on the cover starts the journey. Inside the case, the girl in the castle, lonely in her turret, appears to be lost in a dreamlike trance. Yet as the story unfolds, the reader learns that the girl in the castle misses the children when they leave the museum, and dreams of their return. She even dreams of the reader, who is, in the end, invited to leave his/her picture above the girl's bed inside the castle, inside the glass case, inside the museum, inside the book that the reader is holding.

Much like the Escher-like stairways of the illustrations, the three worlds intersect and blend into an unexpected story. And, with characters that look like dolls, dolls that look like porcelain figures from a Dali painting, strange toys, and hazy dream-like colors sparked here and there with a magical light, Kate Bernheimer and Nicoletta Ceccoli have created a mesmerizing fantasy world that is both uniquely surreal, yet comfortingly real and loving.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the haunting illustrations in this book as well as the intriguing thought that characters and readers interact on many levels. Have you ever thought that the things in the museum may have thoughts and feelings? Would that be possible? How is it that books can make fantasy worlds seem real?

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