What happens when your playfully sentient stone palace goes off kilter and leaves you a bright orange egg to care for—secretly?
Princess Celie and her family love Castle Glower and its habit of adding and removing rooms on Tuesdays (Tuesdays at the Castle, 2011). But now the Castle changes on Wednesdays too, and the modifications have a frantic air. In a tower that only she can see, Celie discovers a huge egg and nurtures it. Startlingly, what hatches is a griffin. Celie keeps fast-growing Rufus hidden; she tries to tell the king and queen, “[b]ut as soon as I opened my mouth to do it, that pack of cloaks fell down the chimney.” The Castle allows only Celie, one older brother (Bran, the Royal Wizard) and amiable Pogue (the village blacksmith) to know about Rufus. George’s core mysteries—if griffins are mythical, why do hallway tapestries imply that the Castle once had “ordinary, every day griffins?” Is the Castle frightened or, possibly, angry?—intrigue. Historical exposition is somewhat dry, but Celie’s flights on Rufus’ back are exhilarating. Danger lurks, somehow related to a visiting wizard and an unknown foreign land, but its precise nature waits for next time, as this installment ends on a cliffhanger (almost literally—several characters are high in the air).
A sweet, funny, sincere story in which siblings work together. (Fantasy. 8-11)