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Book Review: Delphine and the Silver Needle Plus a Author Interview

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When a tiny mouse lands on Cinderella’s doorstep, a huge adventure begins. Read on for a full book review of Delphine and the Silver Needle by Alyssa Moon!

Delphine and the Silver Needle review
Photo by Disney Books

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To unravel any mystery, find the knot.
When Delphine, a young orphaned dressmaker mouse living in the walls of Cinderella’s château, stumbles upon an enormous secret, it upends everything she thought she knew: The magical tailor mice of legend really existed. Racing to stay ahead of King Midnight, the fearsome leader of the rats who is bent on harnessing age-old magic, Delphine embarks on an epic quest to uncover the truth about the past. Joined by Alexander, the most pompous noblemouse in the royal court, she travels a perilous route, encountering strange enemies and unlikely allies along the way. 

Can Delphine uncover the truth and save the kingdom? Or will the evil King Midnight succeed in harnessing the power of the tailor mice? This action-packed novel by Alyssa Moon is sure to be a hit with readers who like magic, adventure, and very tiny heroes with very big hearts.

DELPHINE AND THE SILVER NEEDLE BooK Review

When Delphine arrives on Cinderella’s doorstep as a baby, not much is known about this tiny but talented mouse. Delphine grows up to be a stellar seamstress and when she is invited to sew a dress for royalty, a new adventure abounds. Paired with her friend Alexander (the opposite of Delphine in every way) and her special silver needle, Delphine ends up on the run from the evil King Midnight. King Midnight is determined to get his hands on Delphine’s cherished needle and will stop at nothing to get it!

Delphine and the Silver Needle is a great middle school adventure novel and it introduces new characters with Cinderella’s story happening in the background. Delphine is a plucky heroine who relies on her wits and sewing talents (and a bit of magic) to survive and could be a hero to young kids that feel like maybe they are just a bit different than everyone else. I really enjoyed the intricate illustrations in each chapter although I was a bit disappointed the novel ends on a cliff hanger.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALYSSA MOON

Hi Alyssa, thanks for taking the time to chat today! Can you tell me how the Delphine and the Silver Needle project came about?

I’ve been reading fantasy and fairy tales all my life, and writing my own stories along the way. I was thinking about the mice who live in Cinderella’s château, and wondering what sorts of adventures they must have. If Cinderella has a Fairy Godmother who’s magical, do the mice have their own magical mice who travel around the kingdom? That became the idea of the Threaded, the magical tailor mice who disappeared a century ago. And from there sprang the story of Delphine, a mouse with a mysterious origin and a magical needle.

Delphine is a plucky heroine who is curious as to how and why she ended up on the doorstep at Chateau Desjardins. Did any particular person provide inspiration when you were writing about Delphine? 

I think Delphine is so familiar to us all because we all know what it’s like to be unsure of your place in the world. She’s impetuous and hot-headed, both traits that I share, so it was very easy to write those scenes where she’s refusing to listen to reason! Writing Delphine’s character actually made me a little more sympathetic for all those people who have had to put up with my own stubbornness over the years. And for Delphine, Alexander is the one who starts to open her eyes to the fact that sometimes it’s ok to rely on others. He provides that counterpoint to her, and through his own kindness, reminds her of Cinderella’s words: “Have courage and be kind.” When I was creating Delphine’s character, I also took a lot of inspiration from Cinderella herself, because of course Delphine grew up alongside Cinderella, watching her from the mouse holes of the château. Delphine admires Cinderella tremendously, and this really influences some of the best qualities of Delphine, like the fact that she is willing to admit when she’s made a mistake.

Ultimately this is Delphine’s story but the other residents of Chateau Desjardins like Cinderella, Lady Tremaine and Bruno make brief appearances.  Can you tell me about how you decided who to reference?

Honestly, I just tried to get as many of the characters as I could in there for fans, while keeping it mainly about Delphine. As a Disney fan myself, I know how exciting it is to find a hidden reference, so I wanted to sprinkle them in throughout. I knew from the beginning that Gus and Jaq had to make cameos as well, and I loved the idea of them being Delphine’s best friends. It’s so charming to imagine the three of them as young mice, running around inside the walls of Cinderella’s château! You’ll see even more cameos in Book Two.

Tell me about the cover artwork and sketches within the novel, were you involved in the selection?  The fox drawing in Chapter 8 is terrifying!  

I know! The artist, Therese Larsson, is so talented. I worked with Disney Publishing to identify possible moments in each chapter that could be great inspiration for artwork, but then Therese took those ideas and brought them to life. Her work crackles with so much energy. I remember seeing the rough sketches and even though it was just the first round, I couldn’t believe how well she captured the characters and their personalities. One of my favorite pieces is the one where Delphine and Alexander are meeting a badger monk, and their nervousness is so clear in their expressions. Therese Larsson did the gorgeous cover as well. I had sent my editor a little pen drawing where I had sketched out the idea of Delphine standing with the needle, and Cinderella’s castle in the background. But it didn’t feel exciting. Therese turned it into the incredible night scene you see now, with so much determination in Delphine’s eyes, Alexander alongside her, and King Midnight looming in the sky above. I’m just in awe at how beautiful it is.

Delphine and the Silver Needle is a fun ride and ends in a bit of a cliff hanger.  Can you give us any hints on where Book 2 will take Delphine next?

In Book One, Delphine thinks that the answers to all her questions lie in the mystery of the needle. She’s about to discover that the mystery is much bigger – and much more dangerous – than anything she could have guessed. The rats are no longer merely a threat to her, but a threat to the entire kingdom. Delphine is the only one with any chance of stopping them before it’s too late, but it may mean losing everything she holds dear. Add in a new friend who knows where secrets are hidden, and a double-cross that comes from where she least expects it. There’s so much for readers to discover! To unravel the mysteries, she’ll have to figure out who she truly is.

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