MODULE 8: FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE
Summary: In a fantastical land of wizards and their moving castles, Sophie is the eldest of three sisters. This birth order position is considered unlucky, and Sophie has resigned herself to a quiet life as a hat shop apprentice. However, all that changes as she is cursed and turned into an old crone. Her only chance to reverse the spell lies with the apprentice of a traveling wizard who is rumored to steal young women’s souls. Determined Sophie sets off to find him .The Wizard Howl has is own curse from the Witch of Waste but soon Sophie and Howl are traveling together. Together they will overcome the spells and learn about themselves and each other.
Citation: Wynn-Jones, D. (2001). Howl’s moving castle. New York, NY: Greenwillow.
Impression: I really enjoyed this book and it made watch the animated feature film, though that was very different. The fantasy elements are original and interesting. The curse of old age upon Sophie is not a regular evil spell and Jones pokes fun at the fact that most fairy tales involve the youngest sibling on an adventure. I particularly enjoyed Calcifer’s character, similar to a crabby old man. Sophie is a great character as well, who isn’t a natural adventurer but someone who knows how to deal with a problem when it arises.
(2002). [Book review of Howl’s Moving Castle, D. Wynn-Jones]. Available from Horn Book
After young Sophie Hatter is turned into an aged crone by a peevish witch, she tries to aid the charming, wildly theatrical wizard Howl in vanquishing the witch, so that both of them can break the spells they're under. Another welcome reissue from Diana Wynne Jones.
Uses: This book is a great fantasy book with a strong female lead. I would use it in a display with other books with female heroines. Books by Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley would also be included. Perhaps it could be a precursor display for the Hunger Games movie coming out, as that also has a strong female lead.