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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

The Door in the Wall
The bells clang above plague-ridden London as Robin lies helpless, cold, and hungry. The great house is empty, his father is fighting the Scots in the north, his mother is traveling with the Queen, and the servants have fled. He calls for help but only the stones hear his cries. Suddenly someone else is in the house, coming towards Robin. It is Brother Luke, a wandering friar, who takes Robin to St. Mark's Monastery, where he will be cared for until his father sends for him.

At last, a message comes--Robin is to meet his father at Castle Lindsay. The journey is dangerous, and the castle is located near the hostile Welsh border. Perched high in the hills, the castle appears invincible. But it is not. Under the cover of a thick fog the Welsh attack the castle. And Robin is the only one who can save it...
Summary & Cover
Length: 128 Pages (Paperback)
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Publication Date: 1949
Yesterday I had the pleasure of finally reading a book that qualifies for my 2013 Pre-1960 Classic Children's Books Reading Challenge that I'm hosting this year and since this is the first book that I read for the challenge I'm glad the one I chose to read was a good one.
The Door in the Wall is a classic piece of historical fiction for children written by Newbury Award winner Marguerite de Angeli and after reading it I can certainly see why it is held in such esteem. The book takes place in England during the time of the plague in the middle ages and follows the story of young Robin, a 10 year old boy stricken by what I believe (given the symptoms he exhibits) is polio.
When Robin is left in the care of a Friar after the plague sweeps through his father's household he comes to terms with the fact that he will never be a knight but he also learns many lessons about humility, patience, and the value of doing something the hard way and also that just because he's disabled that doesn't mean he still can't accomplish great feats.
This is further proven when later on in the book our young protagonist is the one who saves the day when the castle he has moved to be a ward of a knight friend of his father has come under attack thus earning the love and respect of all around him.
I thought the book held a wonderful message for children that just because you have a perceived disability it doesn't change the fact that if you aspire to greatness you have more chances of achieving it.
The historical setting was wonderfully done, and I loved how even though this was a children's book that the author still wrote the dialogue in the way that people during the time actually spoke to give it that authentic feel. The characters were lovely and I especially Brother Luke for the time he took to teach Robin about the things that really matter in life.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves classic children's books and those who are teachers, librarians, parents, and whoever else has children in their lives to read this to them. It's a great book for kids to read and the message it has is wonderful. This is one that I would say needs a spot on every child's bookcase.
Liked It!
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  1. Great review baby. Im glad you found another book you like. I sadly never read that book as a kid :(

  2. I haven't heard of this one but it does sound great. Is the language all classic-y or easy?

  3. My niece had been asked by her teacher to read some classics, so I am going to recommend this too her.

  4. I remember reading many of her books in elementary school but this most famous one doesn't sound familiar!


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