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Howl's Moving Castle: Reviewed

Author:Diana Wynne Jones
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 8 and up
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 8 and up
Year of publication:2001

A cheerful, easy to read, but very complicated, backwards fairy tale, in which the protagonist is the oldest of three stepsisters. Nearly every character in this story, major and minor, wears at least one or two disguises. In some cases, the disguise is of his or her own choosing, but not always.

For example, our young heroine Sophie has fooled herself into believing that she'll never accomplish anything, since, in the world in which she grows up, eldest sisters never do. This belief keeps Sophie from realizing that she does magic nearly every time she does anything. Meanwhile, Sophie struggles through the story in the body of an old woman because of the misdirected curse of a witch.

Although the words of the story are not too challenging, and the ideas are gentle, the complications of the plot may keep even the most sophisticated minds engaged throughout.

-- Emily

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