The Gist: In a world where magic is as normal as royalty, a young woman seeks to reverse the curses that plague her.
Story Review: Sophie is the oldest of three and fully believe the superstition that the eldest of three will be a failure. Whenever things do go wrong, she automatically blames this superstition, but when things are going well Sophie forgets about the eldest curse. I love that once Sophie is aged (due to a curse from the truly bad Witch of the Waste) she becomes fearless– even though she still holds onto the superstitions she is no longer the meek and scared Sophie. This is the woman that leaves the comforts of home to find a way to break her curse, who enters into a deal with Calcifer (a fire demon), and who meddles in the wizard Howl’s affairs. Once she stops being so scared of trying, life starts opening up to her. However Sophie’s curses continue to haunt her because she doesn’t realize only she has the power to break them.
This book is a wonderful tryst into fantasy without all the tangles and difficulty that comes with high fantasy books. Perfect for middle schooler (I picked the book up in the children’s section of my library) with quite an extensive and awesome use of vocabulary (higgledy-piggledy, hale, heaves, etc.).
Immersion Activity Ideas:
Celebrate May Day
Make/mend your own clothes (I suggest ThreadBanger and BurdaStyle)
Make you your hats
Throughly clean your home
Plant a garden (My personal favorites are Turtle Tree seeds and the Seed Saver Exchange)
Plant a flower garden (See suggestions above)
Be vain. (Or at least treat yourself right: manicure, pedicure, facials, etc.)