I don't know why it took me so long to get around to this charming and funny story! People recommended it to me, and even my youngest said it was great (she is picky). RIP finally got it done.
Castle Hangnail has been without a Master for quite some time, and the minions are very worried that the Board of Magic will shut them down and decommission the castle. Even so, the guardian is skeptical when a 12-year-old girl shows up and announces that she is their new Wicked Witch. She's awfully short and frizzy, and she doesn't look impressive or demand impossible tasks, as a proper Master should. But she takes on the proper Tasks to make the castle hers, and the minions start to like Eudamonia, who prefers to go by Molly ...until, that is, her secrets are found out.
This was so much fun! It's got clever plot, lovable characters, and great atmosphere. Molly makes friends with the bats in the attic, and they send Bugbane, who is distressingly day-oriented, to be her assistant (Bugbane is probably my favorite, unless it's Pins, who does the sewing and decorating). The cook is a Romanian minotaur. It's all just wonderful and funny.
Yep, this was a good one.
I also decided to re-read the creepiest Green Knowe book: An Enemy at Green Knowe. It's summer, and Tolly and Ping are just back from camp and thrilled to be home. Granny gives them a new story about the house in the 1630s, featuring Roger and his tutor. Dr. Vogel, like many a Jacobean scholar, was into alchemy...and some other pretty dodgy arts. He came to a bad end, but now his history is being raked up again by a new neighbor, a lady who claims to be studying the era and wants to have a look round in case any books are left. She is creepy, and pretty soon Ping, Tolly, and Granny are pulled into in a covert war in defense of their home.
This one really is a frightening story, in terms of children's literature. It probably gave me nightmares when I was a kid.
So that's two great juvenile reads for RIPXV. I've got some other good things going too!