Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Travis Jonker
Illustrator: Mark Pett
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
There is a castle in the middle of the town that no one has ever been in. Everyone has a different idea of what might be inside, but no one has ever bothered to investigate the mystery. Ibb wants to know what lies within. Courageously she rows across the moat and knocks on the door, only to hear intimidating hisses. Is her grandfather right? Are there snakes inside the castle? The very next day she receives an invitation to visit the castle and come inside. She meets the castle guardian who reveals that he is the last person left in the castle and he needs someone brave to take his place. Ibb agrees, on the condition that he open the gates to the town and that he visits once in a while.
This is a clever book about a clever and brave little girl who ventures through thick walls that have kept people isolated for years. The message hidden within the story is quite obvious—challenge rumors and ignorance that are taken for granted. And definitely don't wall yourself in or other people out! The illustrations are comic-like and keep the theme from weighing the story down. It remains lighthearted in a way that makes the reader feel that they are exploring a new idea and not being beat over the head with morals. This is a great book for any library and contains a message that can be read and shared again and again.