I received Castle Hangnail in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
Reading is something I want my children to enjoy. Ursala Vernon is helping them discover the magic of reading through amazing characters and plots that are fun and entertaining for them. My son loves Dragonbreath, my daughter loves the Hampster Princess, and we’ve just discovered Castle Hangnail.
One of my favorite things about Vernon’s writing is that she isn’t trying to sneak in ethics or bring up morality. It’s intelligent reading that I believe still conveys these qualities, but without making it the core of the story.
Castle Hangnail has all the “fun stuff” my kiddos love reading about. A witch. A castle. The characters aren’t flawlessly perfect. There’s Molly who is a little pudgester, her hair is brown and fuzzy. She has big brown eyes. She is opinionated–especially about food, gardening, and not wanting to be the Good Twin. In fact, she WANTS to be the Wicked Witch (don’t mistake this for EVIL Witch). Molly is herself.
She is at the age where she want recognition. She’s in an abusive friendship, where the older friend takes advantage of her and causes her to feel weak and less than powerful. It’s a great peek at realizing something I’ve told my children forever, “no friend is better than a friend who makes you feel less than amazing”. Molly is a good example of having the courage and not allowing it to continue.
There’s Majordomo. His relationships are filled with turmoil and he has issues with anger. Even non-speaking characters convey the need for community. It’s a feel good story, even when things don’t seem to be going so great.
This is a comic hybrid and the illustrations are great! They capture the charm and the creepiness of the storyline.
Vernon wins my heart for her storytelling and fun topics that have even me laughing out loud as we read!
Castle Hangnail Synopsis:
When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail’s doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle’s minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn’t who she says she is.
This quirky, richly illustrated novel is filled with humor, magic, and an unforgettable all-star cast of castle characters.
Introduce your children to the magic of reading through Vernon’s storytelling. Castle Hangnail is a great book!