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Castle Hangnail

Last updated Monday, October 5, 2015

Author: Ursula Vernon
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 0803741294
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2015

Synopsis: When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is. (Amazon)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever been to a castle?
•  Do you think the people who live in the castle are good or evil?


•  Dour: serious or unfriendly
•  Dubiously: unsure or uncertain
•  Rooks: a type of crow
•  Battlements: low wall at the top of a castle with open spaces
•  Sutures: stitches
•  Ponderously: slow or awkward because of weight and size

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who is the castle's new master/mistress? What is he/she?
•  What is the Guardian worried about when he sees Molly?
•  Is Molly really a wicked witch?
•  What kinds of magic can Molly do?

Craft ideas:
•  Kids cut out a castle shape that can be folded in half or thirds. On the inside the kids can draw a scene from the book, or a picture of the people they would have live in the castle with them. On the outside they can decorate to make it look like the outside of a castle.
•  Check out our Pinterest for October craft examples!
•  www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/october-2015-crafts/

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!