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Cover image for The silver bowl
The silver bowl


First edition.
New York : Harper, [2011]
Physical Description:
307 pages ; 22 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
General Note:
Sequel: The cup and the crown.
From the age of seven when she became scullery maid in a castle, Molly has seen visions of the future which, years later, lead her and friend Tobias on an adventure to keep Alaric, the heir to the throne, safe from a curse.
Reading Level:
Ages 10 up.

Middle School.

700 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 4.7.

Reading Counts! 4.3.


Call Number

On Order



"An engaging fantasy. A most worthy and enjoyable entry in the 'feisty female' fantasy genre," said Kirkus Reviews.

Don't miss The Silver Bowl, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and Book Links Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice.

Unwanted at home, Molly becomes a humble scullery maid for the King of Westria. She arrives at the castle with no education, no manners, and a very disturbing secret: She sees visions that always come true.

In time, Molly begins polishing the castle's fine silver pieces, which include one priceless royal treasure: the king's great ceremonial hand basin. But whenever she touches it, the silver warms beneath her fingers and the bowl's designs swirl into a vision that only she can see. A dreaded curse has befallen each generation of the royal family--and now it threatens the handsome Prince Alaric.

Together with her friends Tobias and Winifred, Molly must protect the prince and destroy the curse. Could a less likely champion be found to save the Kingdom of Westria?

Author Notes

Diane Stanley was born in 1943 and was raised in Abilene, Texas. She later attended both Trinity University and Johns Hopkins University.

Her portfolio of children's book illustrations was creative enough for her to begin publication in 1978. She became an art director for G.P. Putnam & Sons and later began retelling and illustrating classic children's books.

Stanley has revamped the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter and has also researched the children's biographies Cleopatra and Leonardo Da Vinci. She also illustrated her mother's book, The Last Princess.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Adventure, magic, subtle romance, betrayal, and monstrous curses take this book far beyond the typical scullery-maid-makes-good tale. Peasant girl Molly sometimes sees things before they happen, a fine enough reason for her unloving and poverty-stricken father to get rid of her. At age seven, she is abandoned at the door of Dethemere Castle, where she finds work in the kitchen. After years of hard labor, "Gentleman Servant" Thomas takes her under his wing, promoting her to silver polisher, where she is tasked with shining the most beautiful, intricately designed bowl she has ever seen. The minute she touches it, she is filled with intense warmth and sees visions of the demise of the royal family. The rumors of a curse are true. It's becoming more and more powerful, and only she can stop it from destroying the royals. Stanley blends historical fiction and fantasy seamlessly, and her clear, rich language envelops and transports readers. Molly's relationships with handsome Prince Alaric and the kind-hearted stable boy are textured and layered with emotion and dutiful devotion. The protagonist's no-nonsense attitude is balanced by her big heart and a sweet, sharp sense of humor, making her a heroine readers will relate to and cheer for to the satisfying end.-Mandy Lawrence, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Molly is a brave and outspoken scullery maid who finds herself, thanks to her less-than-welcome magical powers, breaking the curse that has haunted the royal family for decades. Stanley uses traditional fairy-tale elements to good effect in addition to presenting fresh characters and a surprising, satisfying happy ending for them all. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Veteran Stanley concocts a delicious blend of familiar fairy-tale motifs and intriguing, well-rounded characters to create an engaging fantasy.Young Molly's mother is ill and her father uncaring, so she learns early how to take care of herself. Her resourcefulness pays off when she goes into service at the palace. Resilience and intelligence allow her to thrive, and they stand her in good stead when she gets swept up into a series of dangerous adventures. Molly encounters an enchanted artifact that reveals (only to her) the threat that hangs over the royal family. Aided by Tobias, a fellow servant who befriended her from the first, Molly rescues young Prince Alaric from certain death. The three then flee the castle and face a series of challenges both mundane and magical before Alaric can claim the throne. Stanley's writing is smooth and compelling, making her characters come to life and ensuring that readers can easily follow the twists and turns of the inventive plot. While there is indeed a villain as well as some not-so-nice characters, Stanley's nuanced portraits encourage readers to consider motivation as well as actions. Touches of humor lighten the tone at times, while suspenseful sequences heighten the tension.A most worthy and enjoyable entry in the "feisty female" fantasy genre. (Fantasy. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* An accomplished storyteller, Stanley uses her singular gifts to craft a remarkable historical fantasy. Molly is a young scullery maid in the castle of King Edmund, and like her mother before her, she sees visions and hears voices that offer glimpses of the future. But is this a blessing or a curse? Surely it is the latter, for if others learn of Molly's strange abilities, they will regard her as they did her mother as a madwoman or, worse, a witch. The girl's choice of silence, however, is challenged when she learns that a rumored curse on the royal family is true and only by sharing her visions might they be saved. Combining carefully chosen details of setting with a richly realized fantasy premise, Stanley succeeds in creating a believable world large enough to accommodate not only menace and evil but also loyalty, enduring friendship, and love. The central characters Molly and her friend, the stable boy Tobias come wonderfully alive as their story unfolds and their mettle and character are tested. Aside from a small glitch near the end of the book that most readers will cheerfully overlook, Stanley has done a particularly good job of investing her story with plausibility and creating dialogue and a narrative voice that are spot-on in both tone and suitability.--Cart, Michae. Copyright 2010 Booklist