41. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Apparently, I forgot to write about Tuesdays at the Castle. I read this adorable children's book back in June, when I was preparing to teach my summer class for fourth and fifth graders. I used the book as an example for setting description, and students were so interested that a few decided to do their independent book project on it, and many more fought over the library copy in my classroom. Now, there are two sequels out: Wednesdays in the Tower and Thursdays with the Crown.
Tuesdays at the Castle is one of few books where the setting takes center stage. As such, it's great for illustrating the importance of setting to a story, but it's also just really fun. Princess Celie, our ostensible protagonist, has a special relationship with the eponymous Castle Glower. Tuesdays are the days that Castle Glower adds new rooms, turrets, or other features. Celie is the only one who never seems fazed by the castle's peculiarities, which extend to granting comfier quarters to its favorite residents and choosing successors to the throne by granting throne-adjacent bedrooms. Since the castle's influence is everywhere at work, it's at least an equal protagonist in the novel.
Anyway, a thrilling read for a detail-oriented middle grade reader, and an amusing romp for readers of any age.