Schroeder, Lisa. The Girl In the Tower. Illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli. Christy Ottaviano Books, 2016. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-8050-9513-5. 246 p. Gr. 3 – 7. P7Q4
Queen Bogdana needs the hair of a girl with lavender eyes, so she has locked Violet and her mother in a tower. The queen is waiting for lavender-eyed Violet to turn 11 years old so she can pluck a hair and complete the spell that will make Queen Bogdana beautiful. The queen turns her mother out and tries to adopt Violet for herself. Violet must rescue herself and her mother and reunite the family that the queen destroyed 11 years ago.
Verdict: This is a delightful story where the young protagonist rescues herself and doesn’t need to wait for a knight in shining armor to do so. I would heartily endorse this book being purchased for your library save for one issue. In the illustrations, by Nicoletta Ceccoli, the queen is portrayed as overweight. Once more we have an example of fat being portrayed as evil and unhappy and not beautiful. It is a stereotype that has happened one too many times for me to be comfortable. On page 84 Schroeder writes “The queen was so ugly it was difficult for Violet to look at her. She hadn’t ever known a person could be that hideous.” On page 85, there is an illustration of an extremely overweight queen. I cannot recommend that you add a book to your library that continues the myth that fat and beauty are not compatible.
October 2016 review by Shelly Jones.