Thursday, August 21, 2008

Children’s Books: The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum

Quite often, the flap material on a book does little to bring clarity to the material within. This is not, however, the case with The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum (Schwartz Wade Books). This single line tells the story absolutely:
Here is an original fairy tale that feels like a dream -- haunting, beautiful, and completely unforgettable.
This is one of those rare children’s picture books that just works on every level. Though Kate Bernheimer has never before written for children, her writing is well known and respected and as the editor of Fairy Tale Review, she’s certainly never out of depth with the material she’s chosen here.

On the other hand, Nicoletta Ceccoli is a highly regarded illustrator of children’s books. It’s not difficult to see why. In 2006 she was awarded the silver medal by the Society of Illustrators. In 2001 she won the Anderson Prize, awarded annually to Italy’s top children’s book illustrator. Her illustrations for The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum are wonderful. This is work so luminous, it seems backlit even on the page. The details are splendid, as are the colors and the otherwordly quality you see throughout works very well with Bernheimer’s story about a girl trapped within her magical world.

The book is recommended for children aged four to eight, but this is a stunning book: it’s my guess many of this edition will end up in the hands of collectors.

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