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Griffin's castle by Jenny Nimmo

Griffin's castle (original 1994; edition 1994)

by Jenny Nimmo

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167471,264 (3.4)13
Title:Griffin's castle
Authors:Jenny Nimmo
Info:London : Egmont, 2002, c1994.
Collections:Your library

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Griffin's Castle by Jenny Nimmo (1994)



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Eleven-year old Dinah isn't very hopeful about her feckless mother's newest venture; moving them into an abandoned and condemned old house at the behest of her newest boyfriend, Gomer. However, she slowly becomes invested in the vast, ancient house, especially when she discovers the animals along the wall come to life and protect her.

Or are they holding her prisoner? As the year wanes and Christmas approaches, Dinah sinks deeper and deeper into her fantasy world, trying to create the happy family she desperately wants but deep inside knows is impossible. In the end, not even her new friends can save her; only Dinah's determination and spirit give her a chance to break away from the past and find a family for herself.

I always feel that Nimmo's work is somehow under-plotted - like there is a whole extra storyline I'm missing out on. However, her books are nonetheless enjoyable for all that. This is pure neglected-child-wish-fulfillment fantasy. Be sure to pull out the tissues as Dinah desperately tries to create a Christmas for a family that exists only in her imagination. There's just enough magic to add the spooky touch that Nimmo's work always has, and, of course, bits of history and Welsh culture sprinkled throughout as well. The ending is satisfying, if a little abrupt.

Verdict: This is out of print and, honestly, it's not so amazing that I'd take the trouble to track it down, but if you already have a copy in your library or run across one in a donation pile, be sure to recommend it to kids looking for a tear-jerker, holiday fantasy with a happy ending.

ISBN: 9780439025546; Published 2007 by Orchard/Scholastic; I think I bought it at Half-Price Books? Donated to the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jan 24, 2015 |
An interesting premise -- a girl and her mother move into a old house near a wall decorated with stone animals, and the girl's feelings bring the animals to life. Initially the animals seem to be protecting her, but by the end, in a nice twist, she realizes they are actually imprisoning her. The writing, though, was a little frustrating, and it was hard to figure out what the characters were really experiencing. Perhaps the language was not concrete enough? The book was also slow to start, and the protagonist was not very sympathetic. I think I remember feeling a bit of the same frustration with her "Snow Spider." ( )
  Inky_Fingers | Nov 24, 2012 |
This is a strange book that put me in mind of Pauline Fisk's award winning "Midnight Blue". Dinah is a bright young girl with a challenging childhood. Her mother has a new boyfriend with a dilapidated house in Cardiff that they move into. But the relationship between Dinah and the boyfriend - Gomer - is a poor one, with no love lost on either side.

Somehow Dinah manages to unleash forces relating to the stone images at the nearby castle. The ensuing story is somewhat disturbing - and the question is whether she will be able to control the forces she has unleashed. Will her school friends be able to help?

This is an interesting, and somewhat strange book. Worth reading though. ( )
  sirfurboy | Jun 15, 2009 |
Nimmo's new book is a stand-alone, not a series like her well-known Charlie Bone books or her Magician trilogy. I grabbed this book from our school librarian before she even got it catalogues. I really like the Charlie Bone books, even if it took the second book before I really got into them--they are a good, original children's fantasy series. With the Magician books and this one, Nimmo moves even further into Welsh mythology, reminding me a lot in tone of Alan Garner's books. This story eerily evokes the mindset of a very bright girl who has never belonged, never had a home of her own, and her imagination brings to life stone animals from a wall near a Welsh castle. Recommended. ( )
  ronincats | Apr 3, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jenny Nimmoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bernardin, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439025540, Hardcover)

NYT bestselling author of the CHARLIE BONE series Jenny Nimmo weaves another thrilling fantasy about mysterious stone animals willed to life in this re-released edition of Griffin's Castle . . . .

Lonely and friendless from constantly moving, Dinah finds herself wishing the animal statues protecting a nearby Welsh castle would keep her company. Suddenly, to Dinah's delight, the stone animals start to magically spring from the walls and follow her home. But when the animals refuse to let Dinah leave her house, she quickly realizes that these mysterious creatures aren't rescuing her, they're imprisoning her. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:22 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

After years of having moved around, eleven-year-old Dinah determines to make a huge, dilapidated old mansion into a home for her mother and herself, but the wild beasts she summons from a stone wall to protect her may also imprison her.

(summary from another edition)

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