Book Review: Delphine and the Silver Needle

Written By Alyssa Moon

By Amanda Elshahawi, Creator, Enchanted Literacy July 10, 2023

Recommended Ages 8+

“Listen, oh listen, I’ll tell you a tale,
Of mice who hold magic from ear-tip to tail,
Who travel the land sewing doublet and cloak,
For great lords and ladies, each item bespoke.

These mice called the Threaded, they stitch and they sew,
But the needles they use are from long, long ago......”

We’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but the cover is exactly what drew me in. A picture of a little country mouse bravely holding out a needle, like a sword, a glowing castle in the background, and dark eyes in the clouds... how enchanting! Intrigue starts in just the first few pages when a mysterious glimmer brings the arrival of a baby mouse with fur the color of soft mist and peculiar grey whiskers. The baby mouse, Delphine, grew up not knowing where she came from, only a large human silver needle and linen with a mysterious crest, were the only clues of her origin.

This fairy tale is right in the center of one of the world’s most familiar tales - Cinderella. Delphine is no other than one of the friendly mice that live in Cinderella's chateau. Though the infamous princess is only mentioned a few times, it provides a magical backdrop for Delphine’s adventure. The plot begins when Delphine’s presence is requested by Princess Petits-Oiseaux, for her dress-making services. “All things are possible at the castle” Delphine is told on her way there. And there we find the story villains - rats. A century ago there was a great betrayal, the rats turned evil and slaughtered all the mice they could as well as other creatures who stood alongside the mice when war broke out. 

While at the castle she meets Alexander, a noble mouse who has a kind heart and a brave spirit. Upon learning that they are both interested in the tales of the threaded, Alexander takes her to a secret area where there are tapestries of the Threaded. Delphine notices the similarities between her mysterious needle and those of the Threaded. When she holds up her needle her grey whiskers turn silver, and the needle starts to glow! These events quickly set Alexander and her on a quest to get answers - where did she come from, are there any Threaded left and is magic real? With rats on their trail, they have to be cautious as they follow the clues that they hope lead to answers. A fair warning, the book will leave you with a cliffhanger but if you are ready to continue down the magical road you can find book two, Delphine and the Dark Thread

This middle-grade chapter book is a good selection for those who like a little magic in their reading. With light illustrations sprinkled in the pages, 23 chapters it is a quick read. If the subtle hints of Cinderella intrigue you, but you’re looking for a little different twist there are a few other options out there. A Cinderella story like no other, “Cinderella - With Dogs!” By Linda Bailey is a picture book twist on the original for ages 3-7. “So This Is Love” by Elizabeth Lim is a part of Disney’s latest Twisted Tales series which is an alternative story to the classic Cinderella we grew up with, recommended for late middle school to high school readers.

Amanda is a preschool teacher, mother and avid Central Park picnicker. She values community and is an advocate for families in the foster care system. One day she hopes to publish a children's book of her own. In the meantime, you can follow her Instagram, Enchanted Literacy, which encourages imagination and passion for reading.