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The Girl In the Castle Inside the Museumby Kate Bernheimer
Synopses & Reviews
Once there was a girl who lived in a castle. The castle was inside a museum. When children visited, they'd press against the glass globe in which the castle sat, to glimpse the tiny girl. But when they went home, the girl was lonely.
Then one day, she had an idea! What if you hung a picture of yourself inside the castle inside the museum, inside this book? Then you'd able to keep the girl company. Reminiscent of The Lady of Shalot, here is an original fairy tale that feels like a dream — haunting, beautiful, and completely unforgettable.
"Italian artist Ceccoli's (The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales) previous illustrations were dreamy paintings; for this tall-format book, she uses clay models and digital media to create images of eerie immediacy. Each scene has its own quirky depth of field; the porcelain-doll faces of the children jump out with breathtaking clarity. Walls and drapes or the breeches of a rabbit violinist are similarly crisp; the other parts of a composition seem lightly misted. The surreal atmosphere is true to fairy-tale scholar Bernheimer's vision of a girl imprisoned in a marvelous world. The castle inhabited by the girl is inside a glass globe, which is in a museum full of old toys; children who visit the museum crowd around the globe to see the girl. She is lonely; her only visitors come in dreams. 'Sometimes,' the narrator adds provocatively, 'the girl in the castle even dreams about you.' The narrator suggests that readers ease the girl's loneliness by pasting a photo of themselves in a gold frame by her bed. Closing the book with a bang-up twist, the author inverts her this-inside-that motif to enshrine the audience's place in the story: 'Now in her room and in her dreams, inside the castle inside the museum, inside this book you hold in your hands, you keep her company....Do you see her? She sees you.' Young fans of fantasy will be spellbound. Ages 8-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[I]ntriguing and captivating....Children will eagerly enter this special world, pore over the amazing toys, and secretly wish they lived there themselves. This unusual book will jump-start the imaginations of all who are lucky enough to enter it." School Library Journal
"A bit of a mystical allegory, but also an invitation too good to decline for the fairy-tale lovers among us." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Kate Bernheimer has written novels for adults, and is the editor of the literary journal Fairy Tale Review. She is an assistant professor of creative writing in the MFA program at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with her husband and daughter.
Nicoletta Cecolli is the illustrator of many acclaimed picture books published around the world, including The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales, retold by Malachy Doyle. She lives in San Marino, Italy.
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