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Howl's moving castle



First Edition.
New York, New York : Greenwillow Books, [1986]
Physical Description:
212 pages ; 24 cm
Number in series:
General Note:
In printed pictorial paper jacket; publisher's price on page [2] of jacket; title vignette; copyright and edition statements from title verso.
Eldest of three sisters in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl.
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number
J Jones, D.

On Order



In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?

Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place.

Author Notes

Diana Wynne Jones was born in London on August 16, 1934. In 1953, she began school at St. Anne's College Oxford and attended lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. After graduation, she created plays for children that were performed at the London Arts Theatre. Her first book was published in 1973. She wrote over 40 books during her lifetime including Dark Lord of Derkholm, Earwig and the Witch, and the Chrestomanci series. She won numerous awards including the Guardian Award for Children's Books in 1977 for Charmed Life, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1984 for Archer's Goon, the Mythopeic Award in 1999, the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999, and the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Organization in 2007. Her book Howl's Moving Castle was adapted into an animated film by director Hayao Miyazaki, and the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. She died from lung cancer on March 26, 2011 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Jenny Sterlin is the perfect interpreter for this challenging, multifaceted fantasy. Sophie Hatter, turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste, takes refuge in the castle of the wizard Howl where, as they battle to free themselves from their respective curses, the pair falls in love. The later novels in the series, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways, are also narrated by Sterlin. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

After young Sophie Hatter is turned into an aged crone by a peevish witch, she tries to aid the charming, wildly theatrical wizard Howl in vanquishing the witch, so that both of them can break the spells they're under. Another welcome reissue from Diana Wynne Jones. From HORN BOOK Spring 2002, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Sophie is caught between a powerful witch and wizard who are terrorizing the magical land of Ingary. Living a humdrum life as a hatter till the malicious Witch of the Waste casts a spell turning her into an old woman, Sophie seeks refuge as cleaning woman to Wizard Howl (although he's rumored to eat the hearts of young girls) in his castle, which moves at will about the countryside. Actually, Howl is a brash young man whose only vice is womanizing. He is a gifted wizard but the despair of his inept apprentice and of Calcifer, a humorously petulant fire demon, because of such human faults as messiness and spending too long in the bath. As in her memorable Archer's Goon, Jones has a plethora of characters who are seldom what they seem and an intricate plot which may dazzle with its complexity or delight by the hilarious common-sense consequences of its preposterous premises. Sophie is a dauntless heroine; when she regains her youth and wins Howl, the odds are this is only the beginning of a tempestuous romance. Great fun. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In a witty, rollicking fantasy, Sophie, the eldest of three daughters, knows that, according to fairy-tale convention, she's expected to fail first and worst when she sets out to seek her fortune, so she doesn't even try. She becomes increasingly fearful and withdrawn until a witch's curse turns her physically into the old woman she has psychologically become. In that disguise she does find the energy and courage to hobble out into the unknown. Feisty, curious, and determined, she moves into Wizard Howl's moving castle, a complex world that open onto four different dimensions, many quests and enchantments, and a wonderful host of interrelated characters human, animal, and inanimate. Splendidly handsome and powerful, Howl is reputed to suck the souls from young girls; but he doesn't intimidate the aged Sophie, who (even as she falls in love) sees that he's messy, fickle, hysterical, vain (two hours in the bathroom), and vulnerable. Slitherer-outer! she castigates him for evading responsibility. Bossy . . . nosy . . . snoop! he glares back. The fantasy is elaborate and clever, combining wild magic with cozy domesticity. The language ranges from the poetry of John Donne (Go and catch a falling star) to the most casual speech (the headless figure . . . was getting on her nerves). Jones' exuberant comedy and joy in her characters celebrate all the mixed, multiple, and echoing identities; and though the spells are eventually lifted and Howl and Sophie may live happily ever after, it will not be according to any predictable stereotype.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2017 Booklist