Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1991
Magicial middle grade
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Even if twelve-year-old Molly doesn’t look like a Wicked Witch, she is indeed one, and she is ready to fulfill the vacant witch spot at Castle Hangnail. Once there, she must convince the staff that are slowly becoming family as well as the Board of Magic that she is fit to run a haunted castle. The only problem is, she may have lied about her identity, and she has a few other secrets she hasn’t mentioned that could get her in trouble.

Castle Hangnail is an adorably quirky read full of friendship, magic, humor, and complete entertainment. Molly is the kind of protagonist that both young and adult readers can enjoy. She desperately wants to prove her worth, and above all, she is seeking people who understand her and accept her as she is, ‘wicked’ and all. The cast of characters is a wonderful mixture of a hilarious and strict cook, a lovable doll whose expertise is in sewing, a guardian of the castle who wants to follow the rules, and many more. By the end of the story, it is easy to feel that they are your own family.

The plot is engaging and fresh, full of magical tasks, not limited but including a good smite, and even an Evil Sorceress. Readers will have a difficult time not being wholly interested in this laugh-out-loud and heart-warming story. In addition to the magical elements, there are also traces of realistic family relationships between Molly, her ‘good’ twin, and her parents.

The illustrations are a nice touch, though the art style isn’t my favorite. They do add a nice touch of dark edge to the story and give a great idea of what the characters look like.

All in all, Ursula Vernon’s Castle Hangnail is a magical story, perfect for fans of Eva Ibbotson, that will capture the hearts of many readers. I will be definitely be looking for more from this author.
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