Tuesdays at the Castle

In Tuesdays at the Castle, 11 year old Celie and two of her older siblings, Lilah and Rolf, must protect themselves and their magic castle from the evil adults who are plotting to take over the kingdom. Celie, the youngest, is the main character. She has a special relationship with the castle—a living thing that changes and grows depending on its moods. The castle itself leaves many clues to those wise enough to interpret them. It’s also very much in charge—for centuries it has chosen the king and it can make things very difficult for those who go against its wishes.

Although the kids in the story are a prince and two princesses who live in a magical castle, they seem very real as they struggle against fear and self-doubt in their quest to hold their kingdom together. Despite the dire situation they find themselves in, the story is clever and frequently amusing.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


Soon after we meet the king and queen, we learn about their apparent violent deaths in an ambush. (An older brother is also among the missing, but as we hadn’t met him yet, he seems mostly like an afterthought.) As the story goes on, the kids refuse to accept that their parents are dead because the castle isn’t declaring an heir. Slowly more clues emerge that suggest that the parents are still alive, though victims of treachery—and indeed they are alive and return in the end. Nevertheless, the kids deal painfully with loss and mourning before they learn the truth.

The evil Prince Khelsh from a neighboring kingdom casts a spell that apparently kills the castle. This loss is felt particularly deeply by Celie because her connection to the castle is the strongest—it’s like part of her dies.

Love & Sacrifice

Celie loves the castle and the castle loves her back. Celie’s love and sacrifice bring life back to the castle, and in return the castle saves her life.

The kids demonstrate love for their subjects and their kingdom by the sacrifices they make to protect them. They ensure that the servants escape the castle when Khelsh starts to take over.

The people of the kingdom know that the royal family cares about them. They rise up, prepared to rebel against Khelsh, regardless of the consequences.


Pogue is one of those guys that every girl has a crush on. He’s quite the flirt, and Rolf doesn’t trust him. However, he really does care for Lilah and he’s a good guy and a staunch ally. Celie finds Pogue very cute, although talk of kissing is totally shocking to her!

Gender Stereotypes

Lilah is very proper. As the kids try to defeat the bad guys and save the castle, she’s often left behind to keep an eye out or hold down the fort. However, when she’s trapped in a tower room for a while, she does invent a really cool pulley system to help Celie get in and out of the tower window.

Celie has been mapping the castle for years—a difficult proposition as it keeps changing. But her mapping skills save the day. She’s also flattered to be called clever. She climbs out a window onto a high roof, long skirts and all.


The kids, the castle, and the servants play some really awful pranks on people. They do all seem well deserved—these people are trying to take over the castle and the kingdom. But the pranks are really awful! They include things like loosening seams so pants fall down and making sure chamber pots don’t get replaced. It’s a very amusingly middle school way to fight back.


Celie is conscious of needing to grow up. She’s embarrassed that she still sleeps with her beloved stuffed lion and goes to some lengths to hide this from her siblings. In the final conflict, Khelsh makes fun of her stuffed animal—which then becomes a real griffin and carries Khelsh away. Celie’s love and loyalty to her stuffed animal and her magic castle are strengths, not things she needs to outgrow.


The book starts out kind of dark with the kids mourning their parents and brother. It’s not until the end that they’re absolutely certain that their family is still alive. But overall it’s a fun and funny read, even with the dire situation the children find themselves in. The kids are clever and resourceful, overcoming challenges in ways most readers will identify with.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for precocious 8 year olds and up. Reluctant readers may find it engaging as well. Although boys might need to be persuaded to read a princess book, I think many will find it amusing.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Published in 2011 by Bloomsbury
First in a series, followed by Wednesdays in the Tower, Thursdays with the Crown, and Fridays with the Wizards
Read my daughter’s copy


  1. […] Book Page. Kidliterate. LDS Women’s Book Review. On Starships & Dragonwings. Reads 4 Tweens. Small […]

Speak Your Mind