June 18, 2019

18-year old Sophie is afraid and overworked when she’s cursed by The Witch of the Waste. After being turned into a 90-year old woman, Howl’s Moving Castle is the only place she can get help—but Wizard Howl is feared and dreaded by all.

What’s so fun about this book is that wizards, witches, spells and curses are a normal part of life. We discover that people and animals are not as they seem and you can have magical abilities without even knowing it.

Diana Wynne Jones was inspired to create this classic story (first published in 1986) when a young boy asked her if she ever thought about writing about a moving castle—and what a moving castle it is! On the inside the castle stays the same, however every door opens to a different location. The book is fantastical, funny, mysterious and practical all at the same time.

Sophie embraces her 90-year old cursed self, facing her fears. In the body of a 90-year old, she doesn’t care what others think. Her capable, bold manner helps her uncover what to do to reverse her curse even as she messes things up along the way.

This is the best summer read for a middle school child and parents will love it too. You’ll laugh with all the crazy characters and be happily confused at the clever plot twists. I’ve read this book to my kids (who loved it!) and to myself and feel like I could read it again to catch all the crafty clues to help solve the mystery. You won’t be disappointed in this first book in the Howl series.

In the end magic will remind you that anything and everything is possible, and that light always wins over dark.

Helps with: imagination, independent female characters, solving mysteries or word puzzles, fantasy, magic and age appropriate romance.