Customer Reviews for

The Door in the Wall

Average Rating 3.5
( 78 )
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5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(11)

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(9)

2 Star

(7)

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(20)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

genuinely moving story

Robin is the young son of Sir John de Bureford, a nobleman of London, England, in the early 1400s. Ever since he can remember, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman to learn the ways of knighthood. His father is off fighting the Scottish wars...
Robin is the young son of Sir John de Bureford, a nobleman of London, England, in the early 1400s. Ever since he can remember, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman to learn the ways of knighthood. His father is off fighting the Scottish wars and his mother is away attending to the Queen who becomes ill during an outbreak of the plague. Robin himself is to be taken to the castle of his cousin Sir Peter de Lindsay to serve as a squire but becomes ill and loses the use of his legs. Fearing the plague, all the servants abandon him and some even die, so Robin is left alone. A monk named Brother Luke rescues the boy and takes him to the hospice of St. Mark's, where he is taught woodcarving. With the help of the monks, Robin learns patience and strength. Brother Luke tells him, "Thou has only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it."
While still suffering from crooked feet and lameness, Robin eventually gains sufficient strength and learns to walk with crutches, so that he can be taken by Brother Luke and the minstrel John-go-in-the-Wynd to the Castle Lindsay. They experience many exciting adventures along the way, but Robin continually wonders what his father will think of him in his weakened condition, since he can never become a knight. After they arrive at the castle, it is attacked by the Welsh. Is there anything that Robin, who cannot mount a house and ride off into battle, might do to find a "door in the wall" that will help save the townspeople and earn the respect of his father? This is a genuinely moving story which won the 1950 Newbery Medal.
Robin's attitude at the beginning, and even after he first becomes ill, is somewhat selfish and even whiny as one might expect from the spoiled son of a nobleman, but he certainly learns better as a result of his sufferings and his effort to overcome them. Many good character traits are exemplified. Each one of us has some kind of handicap or disability, and what happens Robin teaches us that rather than feeling sorry for ourselves or worse yet complaining about our lot, we should be looking for "the door in the wall" that will enable us to do what we can. The only objection is a few references to drinking ale. Also some common Roman Catholic concepts and practices of the day are mentioned, but these show how important religion was during that time. We did this as a family read aloud, and all of us really liked it.

posted by storiesforchildren on November 10, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of finally reading a book that qua

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 o...
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.

posted by TurningThePagesBlog on March 30, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2003

    very dissapointing

    We had to choose the book in order out of Door In The Wall, Ella Enchanted, and Freak the Mighty. i only choose Door in the wall because i know that most ppl would choose the other two. The teacher told us it would be in old english but i had no clue on what was going on during most of the book and we have to look up words we dont know up in the dictionary so we took 30 our of 45 minutes in english class looking up words!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Borring!

    This was even more borring than Lord of the Rings.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2005

    Boring

    I thought that The Door in the Wall would be more exciting because I thought it would actually be about a 'door in the wall'. My class had to pick between 4 Medieval books, Matilda Bone, The Castle in the Attic, Catherine Called Birdy, and The Sound of Krakow's Trumpet or something. The title is kind of misleading. In the book, they're actually talking about a mental door in the wall. The old english was a bit annoying, and I don't think they spoke like that exactly.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2004

    What a terrible Way to desribe the Medieval Times

    How I was able to live through this boring book? I don't have a clue. In my sixth grade social studies class this year, the teacher wanted us to start learning about what happened in the Medieval times, and as an a fun educational experience, we had to read 'The Door in the Wall' by Marguerite de Angeli. The only problem with it was that it was not enjoyable to read at all. Throughout the beginning, it talks about a young crippled boy who has to be taken to a Monistary, but after a while, I have no idea whats going on. There is writting that I can't understand, The sentences are written poorly, and I can;t figure out what's going on. If you are a highly advanced reader and you want to try out reading this book, go ahead, give it a shot, but I honestly think that this is a boring book, and that you'll fall a sleep after the first 30 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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