In a wise and magical follow-up to The Puppets of Spelhorst, Kate DiCamillo revisits the land of Norendy, where tales swirl within tales—and every moment is a story in the making.

At the Hotel Balzaar, Marta’s mother rises before the sun, puts on her uniform, and instructs Marta to roam as she will but quietly, invisibly—like a little mouse. While her mother cleans rooms, Marta slips down the back staircase to the grand lobby to chat with the bellman, study the painting of an angel’s wing over the fireplace, and watch a cat chase a mouse around the face of the grandfather clock, all the while dreaming of the return of her soldier father, who has gone missing. One day, a mysterious countess with a parrot checks in, promising a story—in fact, seven stories in all, each to be told in its proper order. As the stories unfold, Marta begins to wonder: could the secret to her father’s disappearance lie in the countess’s tales? Book two in a trio of novellas bound by place and mood—with elegant line art by Júlia Sardà—The Hotel Balzaar masterfully juggles yearning and belief, shining light into every dark corner.


Kate DiCamillo is one of America’s most beloved storytellers. She is a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a two-time Newbery Medalist. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis.

Júlia Sardà is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including The Queen in the Cave, which she also wrote, and Moving the Millers’ Minnie Moore Mine Mansion: A True Story by Dave Eggers. She lives in Barcelona.

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