Book Review of Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

What My Kids Read Reviews Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Tuesdays at the Castle is a fun and easy-to-read book. It is the first in a series, but there is only one more book in the series at this time. It would probably be a great read-aloud. I really loved that the sibling in this story worked together to help each other and to help their parents. Definitely one I do not mind my kids reading! It is an easier chapter book than some that I have reviewed recently. Paul, my seven year old, could easily read it, but Liam, age ten, enjoyed it as a quick read.

Please note that this book is based on the fact that the Castle is a “magical structure.” Also, there are lots of references to flirting. Please scroll down to click on a rating for more specifics on the areas that concern your family.

My Mom-Meter gives this particular book an overall safety rating of 1 (Safe) for ages 7 and up.

Click here to skip to a Plot summary

Click here to skip straight to Potential Discussion Points

Category ratings (click on the category to see specifics):

Alcohol/DrugsSafe

BullyingSafe

Disrespectful AttitudesSafe

Gross BehaviorModerately Safe

LanguageSafe

Magic/SupernaturalCaution

Romance/SexModerately Safe

Scary ThemesModerately Safe

ViolenceModerately Safe

Plot: Here is my plot summary of Tuesdays at the Castle: ***Contains Spoilers***

Celie is the youngest of the king and queen’s four children. They live in a magical castle that gros and shrinks, depending on the apparent whim of the Castle itself. It chooses the king by giving him a stately bedroom near the throne room or kicks people out by giving them small, uncomfortable rooms. The Castle is always changing, especially on Tuesdays. There are a few rules for navigating it, but Celie knows the Castle the best. The king and queen leave the Castle to attend their Bran’s graduation. Bran is their oldest son, but the Castle made the second born son, Rolf, the heir. They are attacked by bandits on their return home to the Castle, and only the royal carriage and one wounded soldier return. Through conspiracy, the Council claims that the king and queen are dead, and press to crown Rolf king and then appoint the Council as Regents, acting on his behalf for the next ten years. Although only 14 years old, Rolf is competent enough to rule as king, but he believes the king and queen are not dead because the Castle has not changed their room or turns his room into the royal bedroom. The Council appoints an evil prince from another kingdom (Khelsh) to the Council, and tries to force Rolf to make Khelsh his heir. Rolf, Lilah, Celie, and their friend Pogue (extremely handsome son of the village blacksmith) try to find Bran and the king and queen while holding the kingdom together, all with the help of the Castle. Khelsh uses the wizards from his land to find a spell that puts the Castle to sleep and then takes over the Castle. It takes all three children using all of their wits to protect the kingdom and the Castle until their parents return. As she is leaving the Castle to join the armies coming to attack Khelsh, Celie grabs the crown and is attacked with a knife by Khelsh. As he moves in to kill her, Celie’s stuffed animal turns into a griffin and Celie falls. When she is conscious again, she learns that Khelsh was carried off by the griffin, and that the Castle had awakened in time to “catch” her fall by turning the spot she landed on a soft place. Bran had returned with the king and queen, and all is right again.

Potential Discussion Points for Parents in Tuesdays at the Castle:

  • Rolf, Lilah, and Celie work as a team together throughout the book. Do you think they would have been successful if they had spent more time arguing or even just working on their own?
  • What would you do if your parents were missing? Who would you trust? Do you know our family’s plans in the case of an emergency or tragedy?
  • Celie’s talent of studying the Castle did not seem very important at the beginning, but it was very important by the end. Sometimes our talents do not seem very important, but they really are. Can you think of any talents that you have? What about talents of other members of the family?

Alcohol/Drugs: None

Bullying: None

Disrespectful Attitudes:

  • Celi and Rolf roll their eyes a couple of times.

Gross Behavior:

  • Lilah jokes about the king returning and kicking the Council out “on their old, wrinkly… bums!”
  • A foreign prince, who does not have a grasp of the language, says that his dog “made water” on a villain’s shoe.
  • Khelsh called the chamber pots “pee pots” once.

Language:

  • Some children might not know that a “water closet” is a bathroom.
  • Chamber pots are mentioned, and some children may not know what a chamber pot is for.
  • Some children might not know that “beau” means a boyfriend.
  • Lilah mutters something under her breath out of fear once. “[Celie] heard Lilah say something she must have learned from one of the stable boys, or Pogue…”
  • Khelsh, the villain, uses the word “stupid.”

Magic/Supernatural:

  • The entire book is set in a magical castle that adds on rooms, and responds to the people living in it by creating extra rooms when needed, or causing rooms to disappear when they are not needed.
  • The Castle made it clear that the king’s oldest son, Bran, was gifted as a wizard. The Castle put “astrolabes” in his room, to study the planets.
  • Bran was sent to the College of Wizardry to become the Royal Wizard.
  •  A crystal ball is mentioned once.
  • The Castle did not change the room of the king and queen, so the children believe that they are not dead.
  • The Castle seems to be able to see the future. It provides things that will be needed, like a phrase book in a foreign language or a silent cloak.
  • The Castle gives Celie a cloak that, when it is tied on someone, it makes that person completely silent. It is perfect for spying.
  • The Castle is referred to as a “magical structure.”
  • When the College of Wizardry investigates the disappearance of the king and queen, they do some spells, taste some dirt and bark, and determine that the king and queen are alive.
  • “Auras” are mentioned once.
  • Bran uses his magical skills to hide himself and the king and queen, until they can heal and return to the Castle.
  • Khelsh chants a spell and sprinkles some things to “kill” the Castle. He ends up putting the Castle to sleep with his “black magic.”
  • The word “dragon” is mentioned once.
  • “Fair Folk” are mentioned once.
  • A Wizard’s Council is mentioned in passing.
  • “Black magic” is mentioned once.
  • The Castle turns Celie’s stuffed animal into a griffin and the griffin carries Khelsh away.
  • When Celie falls, the Castle “catches” her by turning the stones into something soft. Rolf tells Celie:”The stones seemed to go soft under you, and you were lying there like an empress in a bed of silk when we reached you.”

Romance/Sex:

  • One character, Pogue, is so handsome, that all the girls flirt with him. They would even leave their boyfriends to chase after him.
  • It is mentioned that Pogue really likes that Lilah’s name is really Delilah. Nothing more is said, but it is implied that is appealing to him.
  • Pogue flirts with Lilah a lot throughout the book.
  • Maids giggle about getting to serve Pogue.
  • Pogue kisses Lilah’s hand.
  • Lilah “was fond of occasionally meeting with Pogue in private.”
  • Rolf teases both sisters about Pogue being good-looking.

    Rolf says: “One day, Cel, you’ll look at Pogue and think, ‘never have I ever seen a finer specimen of young manhood!’ As every other girl who has ever seen him already thinks”…
    Celie answers: “Are you talking about…kissing?”

  • Rolf says that some maids said that he was too old to have regents, but he suspects they were just flirting with him.
  • Celie kisses Lulath, a foreign prince, on the cheek once, and he kisses Celie on the cheek once. It isn’t hinted that it is romantic in nature.

Scary Themes:

  • The Royal carriage arrives with an arrow in it, and one injured soldier who tells the children that bandits had attacked and that the king, queen, and Bran are dead.
  • Khelsh plans to kill Rolf after he is named Rolf’s heir.
  • Khelsh had hired assassins to hunt down and kill the king and queen.

Violence:

  • Rolf was so mad, he looks like he wanted to murder a pillow.
  • Celie fights soldiers by herself. She jabbed one soldier with a mirror handle, and knocked him down the stairs, and then threw crumbs in the eyes of the other soldier and tripped him.
  • Khelsh attacks Celie with a knife, and cuts her. He moves in to kill her, and the Castle turns a stuffed animal into a griffin and carries Khelsh away.

From a ten-year-old’s perspective: “I liked this book because it was farfetched, but very believable. I thought it was like the Redwall books, only with humans instead of animals. If kids like the Redwall series, they will probably like this book.”

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Tuesdays at the Castle
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