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A Tale of Two Castles
Contributor(s): Levine, Gail Carson
ISBN: 0061229652     ISBN-13: 9780061229657
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books
    OUR PRICE: $15.29  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: May 2011
Annotation: Twelve-year-old Elodie journeys to Two Castles in the hope of studying acting but instead becomes an apprentice to the dragon Meenore, who teaches her to be observant and use reasoning, thus helping her discover who is poisoning Count Jonty Um. By the author of the Newbery Honor Book Ella Enchanted, and the New York Times best-sellers Ever and Fairest. 150,000 first printing.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Apprentices; Fiction.
Dragons; Fiction.
Reasoning; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
- Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Mythical
- Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries & Detective Stories
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2010027756
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 5.75" W x 1.25" (0.90 lbs) 328 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 143919
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 9.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q53840
Reading Level: 3.5   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 16.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall)
Budding detective Elodie apprentices herself to crafty dragon Meenore; a kindly shape-shifting ogre is their first client. Levine's strength lies in her transparent language and the candid, uncomplicated voice of her narrator, who brings readers along as she questions assumptions, grows in friendship, works out the mystery, and makes brave escapes. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #3)
Hoping to apprentice as an actor, Elodie travels from her rural home to the city of Two Castles. Her parents advise her to "stay clear of the crafty dragons and shape-shifting ogres" and "beware the whited sepulcher," but when she's robbed and then rejected as an actor, she apprentices herself to crafty dragon Meenore as a detective. Shape-shifting Count Jonty Um, a kindly ogre, is their first client. Elodie's sleuthing in the ogre's castle introduces her to many "whited sepulchers." But who is to be trusted and who isn't? -- what with a greedy King, the Princess Renn, a penniless third son of a miller with a too-clever-by-half cat, and various courtly folk. Elodie's powers of "inducing, deducing and using common sense" develop quickly as she finds stolen goods, escapes imprisonment, and identifies a poisoner. In theme and plot this story plays with "Puss in Boots" -- and in homage to that fairy tale's origins, perhaps, Levine slyly slips in French puns (Jonty Um: "gentil homme"; Princess Renn: "reine"). Levine's strength lies in her transparent language and the candid, uncomplicated voice of her narrator, who brings younger readers along with her as she questions assumptions, grows in friendship, works out the mystery, and makes brave escapes. deirdre f. baker Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by PW Annex Reviews (Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews)

In this fairy-tale whodunit, country girl Elodie's parents scrounge up fare to send her to the city of Two Castles, with instructions to find a weaver willing to take her on gratis for a 10-year apprenticeship. (Elodie, intent on joining a theatrical troupe, has other ideas.) Alas, months earlier the guilds abolished 10-year apprenticeships; now everyone must pay, and Elodie's one copper is stolen (by a cat) the moment she draws it from her purse. With no other prospects, she takes the only job she is offered: assistant to the dragon Meenore, who, in addition to its skills as mobile water heater, has a sideline as local detective. Elodie must overcome her fear of being eaten to help Meenore save another hated local—Count Jonty Um, the ogre who occupies one of the town's two castles. With a faint echo of Puss in Boots, Carson crafts a persuasive fantasy realm and a capable heroine. Readers should enjoy watching Elodie hone her powers of deduction to unravel the mystery of the ogre's sudden disappearance, and will likely anticipate further sleuthing adventures with this companionable duo. Ages 8–12. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 April)

Gr 5–8—When 12-year-old Elodie leaves her family farm for the capital city of Two Castles, she intends to apprentice herself to a mansioner, as actors are called. However, as she has no money for an apprenticeship, she goes to work for a clever if cantankerous dragon named Meenore, who instructs her in solving mysteries using induction, deduction, and common sense. Elodie's first big case is to try to figure out who is stealing from and threatening the life of the town's ogre, Count Jonty Um. There are so many suspects, and no one is quite the individual he or she seems; it takes all of Elodie's new skills to keep the Count—and herself—from harm. Although warned about dragons and ogres, Meenore and Jonty Um become Elodie's closest friends. Meenore, whose gender is unknown and so must be referred to as IT, is prickly but steadfast, and shy Jonty Um is hugely troubled by how much everyone hates and fears him. Other characters, such as the gorgeous cat trainer Count Thiel and the dithering Princess Renn, are also fascinatingly unpredictable. Elodie, luckily, is sensible and reliable through and through (if inclined to the dramatic side of life). Readers are certain to be pulled, like Elodie herself, right into the midst of the rich and swirling life of Two Castles.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

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