Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011) spent her childhood in Essex and began writing fantasy novels for children in the 1970s. With her unique combination of magic, humour and imagination, she enthralled generations of children and adults with her work. She won the Guardian Award in 1977 with Charmed Life, was runner-up for the Children's Book Award in 1981 and was twice runner-up for the Carnegie Medal.
Gr 6 Up Sophie Hatter reads a great deal and soon realizes that as the eldest of three daughters she is doomed to an uninteresting future. She resigns herself to making a living as a hatter and helping her younger sisters prepare to make their fortunes. But adventure seeks her out in the shop where she sits alone, dreaming over her hats. The wicked Witch of the Waste, angered by ``competition'' in the area, turns her into a old woman, so she seeks refuge inside the strange moving castle of the wizard Howl. Howl, advertised by his apprentice as an eater of souls, lives a mad, frantic life trying to escape the curse the witch has placed on him, find the perfect girl of his dreams and end the contract he and his fire demon have entered. Sophie, against her best instincts and at first unaware of her own powers, falls in love. So goes this intricate, humorous and puzzling tale of fantasy and adventure which should both challenge and involve readers. Jones has created an engaging set of characters and found a new use for many of the appurtenances of fairy talesseven league boots and invisible cloaks, among others. At times, the action becomes so complex that readers may have to go back to see what actually happened, and at the end so many loose ends have to be tied up at once that it's dizzying. Yet Jones' inventiveness never fails, and her conclusion is infinitely satisfying. Sara Miller, White Plains Public Library, N.Y.
"Imaginative and terribly funny "
THE TELEGRAPH - 100 Best Books a Child Should Read
"Wit and humor glint from the pages"
THE HORN BOOK
Praise for Diana Wynne Jones
"...Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic
and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a
great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of
urgency that links Jones's most outrageous plots to her readers'
hopes and fears..."
"Diana Wynne Jones ought to be crowned with coloured garlands because she is the best writer of magical fantasy for children in this country " Evening Standard
"Diana Wynne Jones could teach Stephen King and JK Rowling a thing or two ... [she] has a skill for inserting just the right amount of detail in her written words, leaving you satiated but not stuffed." SFX