- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 800 (What's this?)
- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (April 22, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061478784
- ISBN-13: 978-0061478789
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,385 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Howl's Moving Castle Paperback – April 22, 2008
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About the Author
In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934‒2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.
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Summary: A young girl gets vexed by an evil witched to lives as a 90 year old woman. She travels out to meet with her sister and stumbles upon Howl's castle and decides to take refuge from the bitter cold within. She then meets a fire demon who offers to break the spell on her, as long as she can break the spell that is on him.
There were a couple things in the movie that I didnt like and that didn't make sense to me until I read the book....If you don't like spoilers then dont read below because here is a minor spoiler that explains part of the movie:
In the movie, at times when Sophie would be sleeping or felt happyness, you would see her appearance transform into a young girl again. Then she'd suddenly change back to an old woman again. Why is that???? Well in the book, you find out that Sophie has always felt like a 90 year old woman because of her bland clothes and life. Sophie has magical capabilities that she doesn't realize until the very end. When you see her as a youthful girl, it is because she feels young at heart. She often tells herself that being an old woman suites her and this is what her appearance becomes as a result if her own will. There. Now the animation makes sense.
I liked the book more that the movie and will purchase other novels by Diane Wynne Jones.
I was unaware that Howl's was based on a book upon my first viewing of the movie, but when I learned of it I knew that I just had to read it. Having finally done so I couldn't be more pleased. It has that same fairy tale feeling that the movie has, and from the very first line it captures you. Its a short, fun book with a strong main character that can be enjoyed by readers of any age. You owe it to yourself to give it a read someday.
On one hand you have Howl, who is a wizard with different aliases throughout the land. He is vain, massively talented, short tempered and if he gets angry or supremely upset… well let’s just say I had echoes of saying “I don’t know” on the TV show “You can’t do that on television.” Then you take the eldest of three sisters and have her fall under a spell that turns her into an old woman. Somehow she ends up at Howl’s house where she meets Michael, his apprentice and a fire demon named Calcifer.
Much of the action takes place in Howl’s Castle which is and isn’t a Castle. Actually it is a house that is the midpoint between four locations and you can step onto any of these locations by turning a knob next to the entrance door. This means that in one setting, the house is an ordinary house, in another it is a shop, in another it is a walking castle and in another it is yet another type of structure. If it sounds confusing, well it’s because it is a bit of a challenge to keep focused on where you at, especially when one seen can have three or four changes of the knob.
The fact of the matter is that the more I read on Goodreads, the more I see that like myself, many people arrived at this lovely book courtesy of the referral courtesy of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated feature of the same name. In case you’re looking for a loyal depiction of what was seen in the movie, please take into account that the movie departs quite a lot from the movie, which isn’t a bad thing. It has very different topics covered although if you’re up for a good fantasy read, you shouldn’t mind. Diana Wynne Jones actually saw the movie and she enjoyed it. She said it was different and that she didn’t mind because she knew the book wouldn’t transfer perfectly to a movie setting, especially since it’s a slower burn of a story.
You’re always intrigued as to what will happen, you will rarely guess right in regards to the twists, but it’s not a book you’d normally tear through and I liked that. It’s a book that begs to be read like a good cup of tea, sipping a bit at a time, digesting what you’re reading and enjoying the cool and calm, yet very surprising creativity of Jones.
All in all a lovely read to offer a different perspective to show that creativity has many ways to be expressed and enjoyed and that magic is a dish that you can serve a thousand ways, and enjoyed wonderfully especially if you heat it courtesy of the flames of a fire demon.