Review: The Girl In The Castle Inside The Museum


Once there was a small castle on display in a museum. When children visited, they’d press close to the glass globe in which the castle sat. For they’d heard that if they looked hard enough, they’d see a tiny girl inside…

Can you see her?

Here is an original fairy tale that feels like a dream – haunting, beautiful, and completely unforgettable.




It’s not too often that I have the chance or reason to pick up a picture book. But after reading about this book over at Nymeth’s I knew I had to take a look. And so off to the children’s section of our local library I headed. Amongst all the tiny little chairs, tiny little tables and waist-high shelves I discovered this magical picture book for myself. However, taking just 5 minutes to read through this story, while sitting in a tiny little chair, with my knees nearly touching my chin, wasn’t enough for me. Into my library bag this treasure went, so that I could spend some more time with it.

The story is a very simple, yet beautiful tale that tells about the magical world of the title character – a young girl who lives inside a castle, inside a glass globe, inside a museum. Many children who visit this museum spend their time searching for just a glance of the little girl living inside this castle, and it is while they are searching for her that the reader is given the chance to learn about the world inside the globe. Or perhaps the world as the children imagine it would be, for they’ve always been told to look closely and maybe, just maybe, they will discover her secrets.

As I mentioned it’s a simple story, but put together with the illustrations, there is many ways that a reader could enhance the story with their own suggestions of who the girl may be, how she ended up in the castle and what her life is like. The power of this story is greatly amplified by the artwork, with it’s many details. It seemed like something new popped out at me every time I looked at a page again. These are gorgeous pictures that contain a certain depth that makes the mind want to feel the textures they depict.

Best of all is that there are so many smaller stories hidden within the main one. A great example is the page depicting the girls bedroom – if you glance to the right you see a tiny little critter peeking his head out a hole in the wall, connected to a tiny staircase down to the floor. It’s picture books like these that are a true pleasure to share with children, as they are terrific for inspiring a child to do some creative thinking and make up their own stories … and for sharing some fun reading time.

Nicoletta Ceccoli has become one of my favourite artists, and I would highly recommend dropping by Stainless Steel Droppings and see Carl’s gorgeous spotlight of her work.

About The Author
Kate Bernheimer is the author of two novels for adults, including The Complete Tales of Merry Gold, and the editor of two essay collections about fairy tales, including Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales. An assistant professor in the MFA program at the University of Alabama, she also edits Fairy Tale Review. Ms. Bernheimer lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, and their dog, Penelope. This is Kate Bernheimer’s first children’s book.

About The Illustrator 
Nicoletta Ceccoli is the illustrator of many acclaimed picture books published around the world. She was awarded the Silver Medal in 2006 by the Society of Illustrators in New York, and in 2001 she won the Andersen Prize, honouring her as the best children’s book illustrator in Italy. Ms. Ceccoli has illustrated, among other titles, An Island in the Sun, written by Stella Blackstone; Horns and Wrinkles, written by Joseph Helgerson; and The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales, written by Malachy Doyle. She lives in the town where she was born – San Marino, Italy.

Title: Girl In The Castle In The Museum
Author: Kate Bernheimer
Illustrator: Nicoletta Ceccoli
Book Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Book Type: Hardcover 40 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade / Kids@Random
Publication Date: February 2008

Other Reviews

Things Mean A Lot
Valentina's Room

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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it too, Joanne! I agree, the gorgeous and detailed artwork really makes it something else. I never get tired of looking at the pages!

I need to give Kate Bernheimer'a novels a try. She did such a great job with Mirror Mirror on the Wall and Brothers & Beasts.

Beth F said...

I love the artwork!

bermudaonion said...

The picture you show is just gorgeous - what talent!

Dar said...

I keep meaning to pick this up at the library, especially since I saw it Nymeths too. The cover alone is awesome, let alone what's inside.

Ladytink_534 said...

I just adore the illustrations in this. I haven't read it yet but I have seen a TON of reviews for it.

Lightheaded said...

I adore the gorgeous drawings you featured here! It seems I would enjoy this one as well.

Alyce said...

This is beautiful! I'm going to have to check this out at the library too.

Anonymous said...

I actually looked for this in our local bookstores after I read Nymeth's review. I was going to buy it for a friend's daughter (and sneak a read first)...but neither bookstore had it. :-(

naida said...

gorgeous artwork.
and this sounds like a great book.

Darla D said...

I love this one, too. It recaptures the sense of wonder I felt when looking at certain books as a child.